What’s this? Yet another death metal band aping the 3 decades old sound of classic Swedish death metal? Afraid so!
Italy’s Entombed/Dismember/Grave obsessed HELSLAVE clearly have buzz-sawing mayhem on their mind and the resulting album, From the Sulphur Depths, is as faithful as they come, with the band leaving no stone unturned in their attempt to emulate their heroes.
Thankfully, such slavish worship has resulted in an album which takes the punky, thrashy, groovy core of early 90’s Swedish death metal and breathes new life into an arguably tired format. This is achieved not by doing anything different (woe betide!) but by sticking to a tried and tested template and basically sitting down and composing a great set of songs.
Which is all us death metal fans really want, right?
Killer, catchy, riffs and grooves (resembling Resurrection Through Carnage -era Bloodbath in spirit, tone and performance) and a direct approach has paid dividends here, with From The Sulphur Depths providing an immediate fix that delivers exactly what you expect, nay demand, from this kind of death metal album. It’s fair to say that Helslave are hardly going to be up for awards for innovation but then who gives a fuck when the ‘death’ is this invigorating! Furthermore, and in their defence, Helslave sure as hell have captured the raw, manic, authentic energy of old-school Swedish death metal and that, we would wager, would have been the whole point in the first place.
Fans of the aforementioned Bloodbath, Entombed and Dismember will have heard this shit a million times before but familiarity is actually a comforting thing right now, and From The Sulphur Depths sure sounds like a warm hug from a cold, dead corpse to us. Which is an embrace we positively welcome! 8/10