Enraptured by Suffering is the sophomore album by US blackened death metal band Helmsplitter, and what a good album it is. Combining the speed and cutting intensity of swedish black metal acts such as Marduk, the groove of stoner doom metal, and the raw dirty sound of crust punk, Helmsplitter have a pretty unique sound, and its a heavy, interesting listen.
Enraptured by Suffering has an impressive array of fantastic riffs. From the incisive tremolo picked bursts of cutting violence, groovy stoner headshakers, to mid paced crushing sludge, all filtered through a dirty crust aesthetic, it’s a smorgasbord of great, interesting riffs with a great dose of heaviness coming from a crunchy guitar tone. With seamless tempo changes between riffs, Helmsplitter show great song writing, interchanging perfectly between different ideas and tempos, all the while making a sound all their own. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard blackened death metal sound anywhere near this groovy and it’s really refreshing.
A fantastically heavy rhythm section adds that extra dimension, with the drumming providing a real assault and battery, lightning speed blastbeats alongside that incisive guitar tone in the faster sections, and a real crusty D-beat style for the groovier parts. A crunchy bass tone with a real groove to the playing rounds off the sound, and Enraptured by Suffering when at it’s fastest is a real assault on the senses, and at it’s slowest a groovy monolith of riffcraft. The Ground Breeds Sorrow is excellent in this regard, delivering riff after riff of heavy brilliance, it simply doesn’t get much groovier than the riff two minutes in, and its one of the best tracks on the album, channeling Electric Wizard, Eyehategod and Marduk all at once. The vocal delivery on the album is good too, with Mike Hall’s voice ranging between Johan Hegg-esque roars and throaty deep screams, and with excellent clarity throughout. Despite a decent voice he sounds like he’s playing it a little too safe at some point, and a little more of an unhinged style would really work well with this style of music. It’s a minor complaint though, he does a useful job and the roars sound vicious, if the screams sound a tiny bit generic.
Overall it’s a great effort from Helmsplitter, from a band doing something different, their combination of black metal and crusty stoner groove works is something else. Helmsplitter simply crush you with all kinds of vicious riffs from start to end, and its one to check out for fans of death metal, black metal, crust, stoner doom and sludge alike!
Stream and purchase the album at bandcamp:
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