Helhorse

For Wolves And Vultures

Written by: AP on 21/02/2011 14:46:25

Some of you may remember that Dødning, one of only a handful of domestic bands idolizing the stateside hardcore/blues hybrid (otherwise known as Southern hardcore), signed a lucrative contract with Mighty Music last year to release their debut album. But with eyes set on horizons beyond Denmark, a band name that is impossible for most foreigners to pronounce let alone comprehend was undesirable. And so the fivesome became Helhorse, armed itself to the teeth with attitude and Southern swagger, and prepared to take on the international market with the smoky grooves of "For Wolves and Vultures".

Having heard material from Dødning only in the live setting in the past, the difference is remarkable. Whereas under the former moniker the emphasis was on steadfast hardcore with a distinct Southern nuance, Helhorse enlists a far more versatile range of influences, from genre heavyweights, such as Every Time I Die and Cancer Bats, to progressive thrash mastodonts Machine Head. Indeed, both "Djöfullin er Danskur" and "The Last Temptation" utilize the same submerged clean guitar tone and vocal style as heard on the likes of "Descend the Shades of Night" and "Halo" as contrast for their aggressive core, while songs like "House of Roosters", "Get Drunk, Get Mad, Get Even" and "Deathride" reminesce the neurotic rage and filthy swagger of "We'rewolf", "Pneumonia Hawk" and "Lucifer's Rocking Chair", respectively.

Unlike their former selves in Dødning also, Helhorse are far less synonymous in their approach, daring to spice things up with the odd memorable chorus or gang shout. The problem - in my opinion - with Dødning was their conforming to a strict code inherited from the hardcore genre that permitted little experimentation. Not the case with Helhorse. D-beats and chug worship are nowhere to be heard; instead a song like "Black Weed", with its lazy tempo and gruff vocals, brings the band into close proximity with the Monster Magnet of recent times, while "Lowered Expectations" and "237" are basically akin to hypothetical B-sides taken from The Damned Things' "Ironiclast", predisposed with a preference for the extreme.

In fact, imagine Liam Cormier and Keith Buckley fronting Monster Magnet, and you should have a pretty accurate percept of what "For Wolves and Vultures" sounds like. It is a diverse platter of ballsy, blues tinged metal n' roll served in varying shapes and forms, from infectious party starters to slow burning introspection and skull crushing fury. Granted, Helhorse never achieve a sound that is truly their own, but where they lack in original content they compensate whole-heartedly with a perfectionist's attention to detail. As such, the album takes time to divulge the full extent of its plus-sides, but if any of the bands namedropped in this review occupy space on your shelf or harddisk, you'd do yourself a favor in giving this a proper inspection.

Download: Djöfullin er Danskur, House of Roosters, Lowered Expectations, 237
For the fans of: Cancer Bats, The Damned Things, Every Time I Die, Pilgrimz
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.02.2011
Mighty Music

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