Review: Lavidius – Helisma

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By Elliot John Doe

Lavidius are a metal quintet out of Brisbane, Australia. Forming in 2008, after a few lineup changes, explorations of genres and playing under a few different monikers they settled on Lavidius. Entering the studio in 2014 to record their debut EP ‘Prison Within’ then having it mixed by Jens Bogren (producer for the likes of Dimmu Borgir, Opeth and At The Gates to name but a few) at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden. Now in 2017 we see the band come back swinging with their debut full length ‘HELISMA’.

‘Cold and Alone’ kicks off the album with a slow fade in before unleashing all fury and fists flying with unrelenting drums, hair swinging riffery, and some gnarly vocals from frontman Nathan Stiffel that could rival some of today’s most brutal screamers. Adding in some leads with memorable hooks and an accented solo for good measure. Super solid opener from the Aussie 5-piece.

‘Tales for Young and Old’ wastes zero time in getting its groove on. Once again with some catchy riffs and the arrangement of this track works really well. The bass tones sound great and the double kicks tie in great to all the mosh heavy rhythm.

‘Final Moments Rest’ begins with an ethnic leaning in the guitar work before smashing in with some chunky headbanging riffs, dual harmonized lead guitars, resilient double kicks and pinched harmonics add some extra spice to the mix in the verses. A slightly slower paced number but it doesn’t lack in any ferocity as far as I’m concerned.

‘Lovely Lies’ brings a rocking darkness with its warped fade in and resounding riffs that mesh extremely well alongside the chugging bass line. Hearing some cleaner background vocals and intense spoken word breaks things up vocally showing a great encompassment of influences from these guys, it’s refreshing not to have the same constant barrage of brutality, throwing something else into the mix keeping the listener surprised and intrigued to hear what other strains of versatility can be pulled out of the bag.

‘Embers of Paradise’ has a classic metal and hardcore intertwining in the riffs, changing up the pace between verse and chorus keeps things interesting and adds so much more to the drum accents, a true headbanger here, this one will keep you rocking along all the way through!.

‘Hand of Carmenta’ is a masterful surprise in the tempo changes, stop starts and accents that are being thrown all over the place. It’s as heavy hell and completely groove laden. Not to mention the most insane high and low screams I’ve heard in a good long while.

Title track ‘Helisma’ is a hair swinging behemoth, keeping it modern yet classic in the verses, almost bluesy. The chorus on the other hand is deceptively dark yet carries across that ever prominent metal message of uniting and rising up. I can imagine quite a few fists pumping in the air to this one in a live setting. The squealing atmospheric drenched solo followed by another surprise with some acoustic guitar breaking things up a little, something Lavidius do very well.

‘Sorry Sweetheart’ is another pounder from the get go. Once again the transition in tempo between sections completely threw me, but in a very good way. I love the element of surprise the quartet has harnessed and use to their advantage so well. I really enjoyed the smart double kick gallops in between the non-stop barrage of heaviness, probably my favorite track on the album due to the band’s sheer cleverness on the way they wrote and arranged it.

‘Letter to a Friend’ embraces a warrior-esque catharsis in its sound and delivery – quite a dark european style track that puts me in mind of the likes of German Wolf Metal tyrants VARG. Somewhat more simplistic than the rest of the songs, but still carries that sense of powerful and heavy all rolled into one super strong piece of work.

Penultimate track ‘Days get Darker’ featuring none other than Bjorn Strid of Soilwork is a thunderous beast all the way until the outro. Even the slower break down choruses that work perfectly with Bjorn’s clean vocals are a force to be reckoned with. Everything just works on a brilliant level and all that needs to be accentuated has been to deliver what needs to be portrayed to the listener, some very fine work indeed gentlemen.

‘The Nameless Girl’ is the final nail in the coffin for this opus and it truly does not disappoint by meshing classic heavy metal with a modern twist and groove that is up there with the best of metal acts today. This one hits its mark by infusing some acoustic guitar into the fray adding an extra dash of sonic mastery to the recipe.

A blistering 11 tracks that truly encompass the European metal sound with a touch of the Down Under. This is a cracking album that I recommend to fans of any genre of metal. It has been executed so well and is truly one of the best underground albums I have heard in a very long time. I’ll be keeping an eye on these guys as I’m sure they will bring it live as well as they do on their recording. No faults here, a band on the rise and ones to watch out for I’m sure. Excellent work, guys. 10/10

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