Hellveto
"Neoheresy"

(Pulverised Records 2008)Hellveto - Neoheresy

There are lots of one-man black metal bands out there; most conjure images of shut-ins parading around their parents’ basement fawning over faithful replicas of the One Ring in between sessions of World of Warcraft. These are the guys that produce garbage-quality black metal that only gets picked up on by either the select few that know what the hell’s going on, or those defending their kvltness by pretending to know what they’re listening to. Thankfully, Hellveto is nothing like those bands.

Sole member L.O.N. brings a surprisingly polished and professional flair to the one-man black metal game. Shying away from the lo-fi blasting favored by many other bands of this ilk, L.O.N. instead puts together layered compositions that have a genuinely magisterial air about them. This mostly march-tempo grimfest is supplemented with thoughtful placing of chants, piano, and acoustic guitar that gives the particularly well done sections of the album a “Below the Lights”–era Enslaved feel. Unfortunately, it seems L.O.N. has a tendency to fall in love with his own songwriting. If some of these songs, especially opener “Taran,” were half as long, they’d be knockouts; as it is, unnecessary repetition tends to paint them as overwrought. If ever there was a case for needing a peek over one’s creative shoulder, this is it. There’s a reason that directors and writers have editors; it’s to keep the imaginative side of the artist from overwhelming their good sense.

The hit-or-miss nature of “Neoheresy” isn’t surprising considering L.O.N.’s mammoth output; this is Hellveto’s twenty-first release since 1996! That’s an unbelievable back catalogue, and it practically begs to be picked over; with L.O.N.’s writing chops, there’s sure to be some real gems floating around in there. This album though, has some really strong ideas that crack under their own weight. Hellveto definitely has a masterpiece waiting to be made, and at the rate L.O.N. works, we may not have to wait too long to hear it.

C+

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