Review Summary: well isn't this lovely...
I think if there’s one thing I’d allow myself to accept as a regret, in a life where I’ve tried to live with none, is my lack of pursuing just something
in music – two, if it were possible to add up the hours I’ve spent on this site doing, and I’ll stray from playing shy about this, absolutely nothing
. A million? Yikes. Truth be told, I should have tackled this “love” years ago when I first recognized it, but I chose a more “secure” path because nobody ever wins the lottery, and that’s a shame, not because I have some amazing gift to share with the world, because I do, and I would still be willing to give it to you, *winkwink* ladies, but I’m talking about a now wasted passion. In my eyes, passion ranks pretty high on the ladder of life, somewhere in between faith and whatever your tolerance for a Beiber fever is, simply because its presence is crucial for the development of an original idea – and the possible growth of something remarkable. It’s only with love and devotion can one achieve such an ability to capture all the magic I’ve alluded to thus far, or maybe that’s just hyperbole, either way I’d like you all to meet Helioscope.
I’ve thought long and hard on how I wanted to approach writing this review because it’s an important one for me and my many reflections with debut effort from Helopscope Noir
an album that exhibits so eloquently what I’ve come to want, nay need
, in my metal here in 2013. It expands and contracts much like a sponge, and, pushing that metaphor a little further, its ability to absorb the listener is astounding, thanks largely going toward its elegant atmosphere. Right off the bat intro “Worldchanger” nearly evaporates from the wax with a light dream-like wind leading to what ends up being a devastating storm of hammer downs and dissonance. So it’s a beautiful disaster. But there’s a subtle hook in all the perceived unbalance, fortunately, keeping the song grounded and tangible. It’s one of many intelligent decisions on the bands part. Two: With that dynamism in hand the band experiments with how far they can expand their sound before diluting it expertly executed on super stoner track “Atlantis”, a suitable follow-up that shows strength in post-(insert favorite genre tag here) and vulnerability as there’s hardly ever anything guiding this song, save for a solemn drum beat and heavily dubbed vocals that swim between the ears effervescently. Of course the song explodes for its second half, but it’s how the voyage came to said detonation that’s more interesting. “Atlantis” probably embodies the soul of the Noir
best, its length notwithstanding, simply due to its ability to transition within itself as much as the rest of the release does combined.
“But are there riffs fromtheinside?” is something I know you’re all dying for me to address by now. Oh boy, are there. Case in point: “Pillars”, a track that thunders, and I don’t use that word often, but I’ve used, like, four weather analogies already so it fits in context. Clocking in less than three minutes it manages to be the heaviest affair and with good reason. Stormin- er, rumbling
out of the gates with a simple riff that hangs as lows as the bass will handle, the song is sutured well with perfect right and
left hooks. There are few songs better at transitioning the mood of an album than this track, as “Pillars” nearly bursts from the bands highly concentrated energy that broods and builds but never topples over itself balancing beautifully this spout of heaviness against the rather recluse outing; it’s the perfect peak for the suitable descent that follows - “Shadows” doesn’t just come and go, however, it’s an ending. A poignant one at that, even beginning in the same manner as the first song, but it, following in tow with the rest of the release, has its own print to the formula. As I referenced earlier passion can boldly extend the mark of a band farther than possibly imagined, in Helioscope’s case it’s what drives their sound.
This is so evident with the albums natural evolution. You can hear it in their refusal to settle; envelops here are constantly being thrust forward. There are never moments where songs drift without purpose like sounds are employed to fill some void. But the most impressive aspect of Noir
isn’t in its ability to sell its product, but the impressiveness of its repackaging. In short, this is a blessed offering to those that influenced it, or so it feels. Certain metal titans, (Neurosis, Isis and maybe even some Sleep) leave their mark heavy handedly throughout the release, but their touches help paint the molding instead of shaping it. Here stems the separation from many of Helioscope’s contemporaries, bands like Hands
, who often wallow around the same sound for unnecessary lengths of time even creating whole albums around singular riffs or styles, immediately come to mind, Noir
proves Helioscope can add vibrant branches to their roots and these reasons for differing is ultimately what makes them more interesting and promising.
It’s difficult to find anything worth damning on Noir
. So much time is invested into laying a foundation under the listener just to sweep it from under them that condemning their knack for trying to stay unpredictable in realm of metal that’s known for its slow-crawl progress is a feat worth praising. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they have a formidable front man who can match the depths and heights poised by the backing members. Much of this releases mood is built solely on how in sync the members are with each other; “Shadows’” entire set up would be meaningless if it didn’t contort its progression so exquisitely, shifting from bass lead melodies to gorgeous controlled explosions that never steer too far from the formula, it’s a song that shines because it lights up everything that makes Noir
such a force to be reckoned with. And in a sea saturated with identical bands playing the same “best Neuorsis song”, it’s nice to see someone moving forward, in fact, it’s nice to see post-metal moving at all.