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Hellveto - "Kry" (CD)

Hellveto - "Kry" CD cover image

"Kry" track listing:

1. Kry (5:35)
2. Glód (7:53)
3. Powiedz Mi... (4:26)
4. Kraina Mgiel (4:05)
5. Rzucone na Wiatr (5:25)
6. Smak Zniewolenia (4:26)

Reviewed by on May 10, 2010

"Teeming with epic song structure and abundant with melodic guitar work, 'Kry' is a fertile disc that breeds an intense desire to hear more, even if it does run a little too closely to the sound of earlier releases."

Continuing his heroic solo crusade of orchestral metal, Hellveto has now unleashed his thirteenth opus, entitled “Kry.” Hellveto has proven to be an inexhaustible supply of ever more symphonic style black metal, with more releases under his belt than most bands could ever hope to attain. Teeming with epic song structure and abundant with melodic guitar work, “Kry” is a fertile disc that breeds an intense desire to hear more, even if it does run a little too closely to the sound of earlier releases.

Much like the 2008 release “Neoheresy,” the newest album only barely qualifies to be identified as “full-length,” as it just barely hits 31 minutes. In fact the many parallels between “Kry” and “Neoheresy” are easily the most identifiable features of the disc. There is the same overall backing beat and pacing, very similar guitar tone, and even nearly identical track arrangements. The opening song may drop the epic pounding of horse hooves that appeared in the first track of “Neoheresy,” but otherwise the songs are intensely similar. The first three tracks of “Kry” can almost be seen as a remixed version of that earlier album, just with noticeably better production.

That similarity with earlier releases is an unfortunate downer on an otherwise superb album. As one of the most iconic solo black metal artists, Hellveto has been almost too productive during his career. While there is a lot of top notch material to work through, it’s clearly difficult to keep things sounding distinct and fresh over an ever growing roster of demos, splits, albums, and compilations.

There is a recurring theme, both on this particular release and in-between Hellveto albums in general, of alternating sounds that switch between the left and right output with each beat. It’s a sort of swirling dance between the guitar chords and drum beats that is very easily identifiable from other bands. The track “Rzucone na Wiatr” sees a new twist on the theme, swapping out the distorted guitars and heavier drums with acoustic sounds and minimal backing keys. It gives an unexpected twist to spice up the standard formula. There are also frequently other refreshing dips out of black metal and into folk that gives the album just a little bit more depth.

Because all the music is composed and performed by one man, it becomes inevitable that at least one instrument will get overlooked, and that does happen here to a degree. The emphasis is easily on the interchange between guitar, vocals, and keyboards. Each of the tracks has serviceable drum work, and it often surpasses that of other one man groups, but it definitely doesn’t have as much impact as the other instruments. The drums often fade into a repetitive backing beat, which is to be expected from time to time when a jack of all trades is at the helm.

By this point Hellveto fans should know what to expect, but anyone new to the band should find “Kry” to be a great starting point in the overall discography. “Kry” has all the best elements of Hellveto with an even better production than before, but the similarity to earlier albums will be immediately noticeable to anyone familiar with the band.

Highs: The symphonic interchange between guitars, vocals, and keyboards creates an epic black metal album that stands out from other bands.

Lows: The album follows too closely to the same pattern as earlier Hellveto releases.

Bottom line: More superb symphonic black metal from an iconic figure in the scene, but it sounds a little too similar to earlier releases at times.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)