Company: Pulverised Records Release: 2006 Reviewer: Etiam Genre: Black
An album that favors the atmospheric over the anthemic
After spending the better part of a decade with only demos and EP's to the Hellveto name, mastermind L.O.N. exploded onto the scene in 2002 with a flurry of LP's and has shown little signs of slowing since. An especially active year was 2006, in which he released a trio of full-lengths, 'In The Glory of Heroes' included, and began to gain some measure of acclaim in the black metal world. Of course, prolific musicians of the underground are old hat for metalheads, so the track record of Hellveto's sole member L.O.N. won't be setting any records. But with 10 LP's released between 2002 and 2007 under the Hellveto name and two more in Blakagir, one has to wonder how much of a social life L.O.N. has time for.
Unlike many artists whose prolificacy relies on hasty songwriting or simply releasing everything they record, Hellveto is characterized by full arrangements and lavish orchestrations that suggest an attentive, discerning ear. As with most of his recordings, 'In The Glory...' is a veritable sonic landscape: upon a black metal foundation (tremolo guitar doubled by the bass, metronomic drums, distorted vocals, etc.), L.O.N. layers synthesized strings, keyboards, choral vocals, and even an occasional reed instrument to drive home a melancholic point. Instrumentals 'Last Moments...' and 'My Hymn From Carpathian Mountains' are essentially classical guitar pieces for two that stray entirely from the rock combo orthodoxy, using exclusively orchestral instrumentation as support and tending heavily towards polyphony. The tracks that combine these elements do so well, without either the metal or symphonic elements obscuring the other, and L.O.N.'s declamatory vocal approach is well suited to his bombastic writing style.
With such a lush spread laid out for the listener, it's frustrating when L.O.N. lapses into completely forgettable riffing that detracts from his stronger moments as much as it simply create dead space. This is perhaps the area where his mass of output is most detrimental, for in almost all other aspects, particularly in how fully developed and each release is, L.O.N.'s creativity is enviable. But after balancing the rest of his arrangement so well and drawing the audience into a hypnotized state, L.O.N. will segue to another section with a static guitar riff or drab melody. On the whole, their impact isn't overwhelming, but still disarming enough now and then to suggest boredom and cast a poor light on the rest of the album, which features few enough singable melodies as it is.
Altogether, though, 'In The Glory of Heroes' is an album that favors the atmospheric over the anthemic, and in the practice of the former L.O.N. is well-versed. Too, any other approach would threaten to feel inconsistent with Hellveto's philosophy as a champion for the European pagan front, reviling other religions and races and presenting a stern visage to the rest of the world. With a pronounced DIY atmosphere, 'In The Glory of Heroes' pays somber homage to L.O.N.'s forebears and will deservedly appeal to fans of the nationalist Drudkh and epochal Summoning.
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