Helix Nebula – The Last Lights Of A Dying Universe

For my second Underground Review I was approached by Prog Death band Helix Nebula of Riva Vaciamadrid, Spain about checking out there first full-length album, The Last Lights Of A Dying Universe.  They released a digital five track EP, The Beginning Of Time, back in 2013 and they recently played a show with Feel No Pain, whose four track demo I reviewed not too long ago.

I seriously think I’m going to edit my original post on looking for underground bands to mention that I really don’t want to be bothered if a band has an intro track.  Bands, it’s old, it’s been done a million times and all you’re doing is wasting valuable time that I can never get back.  Oh, and if your engineer or producer did it fire his dumb ass right away.  Time is money.  Just stop it!!!

Now to the music!  Upon hearing “God Is God?” I instantly think modern day Dream Theater, with the delay drenched alternate picking line.  And by the way no I’m not a fan of Dream Theater.  The band kicks in…Death Metal growling?  Ok, no problem, I am a Death Meal fan anyway.  Now it’s starting to sound like a cross between the band I mentioned and Opeth.  This song seems to go back a forth between the luscious clean parts that would make the knuckleheads in DT real proud, and Opeth during the heaviest moments on their landmark album, Blackwater Park.  Mike Vera is really good at doing a low rumble into a demonic scream.  I really don’t like how the song ends though, a little to anticlimactic, too soft, even with the quieter ending.

As the album progresses that sound remains very consistent, something lots of Progressive-bands have a major problem doing.  I think the only issue I’m starting to have now is that there are times where I feel that the growling isn’t necessary.  Sure, I did say I like it, but it just doesn’t fit everywhere, especially with the catchiness of some of the chorus’s I’m hearing.  I’m really liking some of the guitar solos, especially on “Night Angel”, where I think different vocal approaches could’ve definitely been used.  I definitely can envision screaming in the choruses to offset the growls during the versus, otherwise it just sounds stale.  One of the things I used to love about a band like Into Eternity is not only could Stu Block growl, he could scream even higher than fucking  Halford AND sing beautifully.

Paula Shultz’s guest vocals on “Dawn Of War” are absolutely breathtaking.  After that this becomes the fastest song on the album so far.  I’d honestly like for the band to do more of this in the future.  Nice guitar harmonies, reminds me of “Flash Of The Blade”, one of my favorite Iron Maiden tracks.  Although, like “God Is God?” it could’ve had a more badass ending.  I feel like it needed to have it.

An interlude?  Really guys?  Is this necessary??  No it’s not!  Another time killer that’s old and annoying.  I really think the last time I found interludes at least amusing was back in the mid-90’s, when I heard the intermission track on Tool’s classic AEnima (they’re totally dead to me after this album) and the intermission on The Offspring’s album Ixnay On The Hombre (yeah it’s punk but it’s album before they sold out COMPLETELY…and I was only thirteen at the time).  Point is, you bands need to knock it off with these fucking interludes – stop it!!!!

After a another minute was wasted “Son Of Antares” comes in with a great solid headbang tempo.  Around the three minute mark it cools off temporarily before the guitar solo.  I really think this was not necessary.  And this is usually my biggest problem with prog metal.  You all want to mix in all of these elements together in a single song and the problem is it doesn’t always make sense.

“Black Flames Of Chaos” had me throw up the horns right away.  Good job guys!  This is the most metal track on the entire album from start to finish.  But more important than that, it’s the most consistent from start to finish.

Uh oh, I think that clean guitar is a tad out of tune on the closing title track; not the best way to start out the beginning of the end.  On top of that, the segue into the heavier section feels very sloppy.  As someone who started out as drummer it was really hard to keep track of the beat there.  Thankfully, it shapes up more after that.  You’ll definitely be able to hear some really consistent thematic changes throughout this ten minute epic, all of which intertwine perfectly.  I would’ve loved the solos near the end to have a bit more attitude to them, not necessarily more notes, just more feel to them.  And once again the ending leaves way too much to be desired.

All in all this is a decent debut album from Helix Nebula.  I mentioned this in my review of Feel No Pain’s demo, but whether you’re making a debut album or demo, you really want to find a way to make it stand out and grab the listener by the fucking throat right at the start of track one – not track two after a pointless intro – track ONE.  They are all fantastic musicians but I totally recommend they focus much more on at least streamlining their songs.

Favorite Tracks: Night Angel, Dawn Of War, Black Flames Of Chaos

You can check out Helix Nebula on their bandcamp site by clicking here:

https://helixnebula.bandcamp.com/

 

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New Videos And More News

So I’ve been pretty busy with recording songs and videos in the last week or so.  I’ve really been inspired in the music department, having uploaded two new songs in the last few days.  Here’s the one I just uploaded today:

Upon listening to it with the drums I mapped out as well as the distorted bass I put there, I find it to be a cross between early Bathory, speedwise, and a more modern Grindcore song around the breakdown section.  I just know my Ibanez Destroyer’s been taking a beating lately with all the things I’m doing.  Speaking of guitars I’ll most likely start recording covers sometime next week.

On the powerlifting front I just began the second cycle of my new 5/3/1 conditioning template.  Only now I’m training four times a week instead of three since I’m currently off from work for the summer – giving me plenty of time to get out all the extra anger my jackass students gave me this year!  I’m serious when I say they need to bring back corporal punishment because today’s kids are way too fucking grown for their own good.  Fuck the kids.  Anyway, here’s my latest Deadlift video.  The whole workout can be found in the description box of the video:

I figured out a great way to use my phone to film myself Deadlift and Overhead Pressing without using anyone’s help.  I just need to find a way to do it for Benching and Squatting.  Also, I’m not too far away from Diamond Gym in Maplewood, NJ, and I’d like to also make my way over there next week to get a workout in.  That place is just so fucking hardcore that I HAVE to go there.

More News

A quick reminder that I’ll be at Anaka’s show at the Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn this Saturday.  I’ll be making a video or two, as well as writing about it here so keep your eyes posted.  Also, I was approached by Helix Nebula, a band from just outside of Madrid, Spain, about reviewing their new album and I agreed to do it so I should be doing that in the next week as well.  Helix Nebula recently played a show with Feel No Pain, another band from Madrid, who’s demo I just reviewed; so I’m assumed that’s how they found me.

I’m now on facebook, so be sure to click here and like the page for more updates.

https://www.facebook.com/Confessions-Of-An-Angry-Metalhead-1237695776242081/

 

Feel No Pain – First God Of The Earth

So, when I was recently contacted by Feel No Pain from Madrid, Spain about reviewing their new four track demo, First God Of The Earth, they described it as Metallica-meets-Sepultura.  But, after repeated listens, I’m afraid that’s not really the case because some of Sepultura’s classic shit borderlines on Death Metal and most of the material here is far too melodic.  Metallica-meets-Iron Maiden?  Much more like it – and there’s nothing wrong with that, by the way.

The instrumental “Mass For The Ancient One” opens up the demo.  I have to admit now that I was never really a fan of instrumentals being used to open up anything, especially a demo where you’re trying to introduce yourselves to the world.  As far as I’m concerned it’s a minute or so wasted that you cold use to let people hear the songs.  Having said that, the track itself does sound very ominous in a classical way.  I can almost envision that beast on the cover slowly arising from the waters, ready to raise hell.

The demo’s title track comes right in with nothing but double bass.  Guitarists David and Hector come right behind with very Maiden sounding harmonies.  I really like the sound of Cesar’s snare drum here!  I hope he can maintain this sound if the band every does a professional recording.  I’m almost positive the lyrics have something to do with that beast on the cover.  Maybe I was right about the intro resembling it coming out to raise hell?  It makes me think that if I were in this band, what I would have done was connect “Mass For The Ancient One” to this song as one track.  No time would be wasted then!

“Cry Of The Undead” begins as nice old-school thrasher with tightly muted fast picking that would make even Hetfield proud.  It breaks down in time for David to start singing about a zombie, stuck between wanting to die and wanting to find someone just like him, until he finds that he’s not alone at all.  You’ll definitely hear the Maiden influence as the song ends in a very “To Tame A Land” fashion, just not as epic.

“Sky Burial”, probably the best track here, comes charging right in at the gate!  This is actually a great way to close the demo up.  It’s a good mix of Maiden’s melodicism and Iced Earth’s tight arrangements.  If I were any of the members of this band I’d want to stick to this for a bit – and I haven’t been a fan of Iced Earth in years.

Feel No Pain sounds like a hungry band.  No doubt about it.  If there’s anything I’d change it’s the vocals for sure.  There’s nothing wrong with singing but I feel like these lyrics need to be sung with more attitude.  Much more.  In this modern metal world I think it’s important that if you’re going to play traditional style you should at least give it a modern edge in order to reach out to more people.  That’s why I liked Testament’s 2008 comeback, The Formation Of Damnation.  It had all the elements of those early Alex Skolnick/Lou Clemente-era albums, but the difference was that Paul Bostaph’s doublebass licks locked in with Eric Peterson’s rhythm guitars gave the songs an edge Lou could never give them.

Here’s the video to “First God Of The Earth” their bandcamp, and facebook pages:

http://feelnopainmetal.bandcamp.com/releases