Death Scroll Of Seven Hells and Its Infernal Majesties
posted on 4/2012 By:
Slow albums that focus totally on a single sound and atmosphere can be difficult to stomach for extended periods of time. Hellvetron mostly averts this in the sense that Death Scroll of Seven Hells and Its Infernal Majesties runs an incredibly sparse twenty-five minutes, so overload isn't really the issue here. Instead, this album suffers from a host of other problems that hold it back from reaching its potential.
Hellvetron feels something like Disembowelement with a slightly faster pace and a more earthy delivery. Riffs are comprised solely of plodding, doomy progressions backed by crawling drum-beats and an abundance of choral keyboard sounds. A raw, cavernous production that was clearly intentional gives all of the instruments a distant, spacey feel, compounded by the heavily reverb-soaked vocals. The doomed heaviness of the playing can be appropriately intimidating at times, and a few of the riffs strike at a Grave Miasma-like sense of swampy morbidity with good results. The lack of speed can also make for some engaging moments that toy with your expectations, particularly when the band winds up a tremolo riff and you're just sure there's about to be a blast -- when there never is.
Death Scrolls delivers atmosphere in spades, but the songs simply aren't that interesting. There's a serious lack of compositional touch and narrative flow throughout this album, rendering the sincere attempts at mood and atmosphere somewhat of a moot point after a couple of tracks pass by. All of the songs start without buildup and finish without climax, and typically feel more like smaller segments of a larger whole than standalone cuts. Maybe this was the idea, but considering the album's sparse length and general lack of variety in ideas, listening from this perspective doesn't really float the boat either. Each of the seven songs just kind of clatter and lurch to and fro with little sense of dynamics, pacing, or depth. The vocals are also overused and can become tiresome considering their prominence in the songwriting and their high volume in the mix.
Hellvetron's cavernous, funereal brand of death/doom is on point in terms of delivering a sound that lives up to its themes and imagery, but I was unable to really connect with it on a musical level due to some underdeveloped songwriting and a basic lack of memorable punch to the material. Throughout my times spinning Death Scroll, I kept waiting for the otherworldly feel of the songs to pull me in and hypnotize me as its creators so obviously intended, but such transcendence never took place. Hellvetron shows promise on their debut, but some creative growth and expansion is needed before they can fully deliver on their lofty artistic goals.
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