HELFIR – Still Bleeding
Helfir is the debut solo project of Luca Mazzotta, the guitarist in an Italian progressive death metal band called Silvered. "Still Bleeding" is truly a one-man affair – all vocals and instrumentation – yet sounds so full of depth and understanding. The description of decadent noir metal can be translated into post, alternative meets ambient metal, as softer dynamics and left-field sounds carry the weight of these 9 tracks. The guitar playing can be restrained, melodic, and emotionally driven – intertwining softer verse parts and building to electric heavy crescendos during concluding/ chorus moments. "My Blood" being one of the best examples of both elements – as everything from Anneke-era The Gathering, Katatonia, and Anathema circa "Alternative 4" comes to mind.
The serene, sparse approach for "Alone" is gold, Luca offering quiet, almost whispering melodies against the keyboard and acoustic guitar foundation. The doomier "Dresses of Pain" contains rich, stacked guitar harmonies towards the final third that enthrall and mesmerize, while the semi-exotic quick trilling alternates against slower, psychedelic passages for the follow up "Black Flame". Luca understands the importance for versatility even if it’s in short bursts – the 95 second "Where Are You Now?" giving the listener a little bit of an atmospheric interlude before the heavier closer "Night and Deceit", a lot of the double bass rolls although programmed give the arrangement this propulsive aspect even though the riffing is post-metal meets doom.
Let’s hope that this is not a ‘one and done’ affair for Helfir. "Still Bleeding" has instinctual appeal, and even though the influences are obvious, the execution is outstanding. Plenty of people enjoy the outer reaches of metal where building moods off of simple, effective chord progressions and adding dynamic context reaches the audience – and these are a few of the reasons why Helfir has created a magnificent start and Luca Mazzotta deserves all the credit.