If we narrowed a search of Colorado black metal groups down to those with members in only one band, I think we would have at least half as many. Helleborus (whose members are the Houseman brothers of Akhenaten and are both formerly of Execration) debuted their first album, The Carnal Sabbath, under this new band at the end of last week. If you’re in the mood for some polished, fierce, local black metal, then look no further this year. The Houseman Brothers, not ones to just churn out a black metal album full of Satan and misanthropy (who doesn’t love those topics though?) have stuck to their Akhenaten roots by forgoing that sort of material. I enjoyed this outing as Helleborus more, the Middle Eastern influence in Akhenaten’s sound really wasn’t my thing.
Overall, The Carnal Sabbath is grounded much more in traditional black metal with some death metal sparsely added, which is square in my metal wheelhouse.
Now, about the actual tracks, the opener, “Helleborus Black,” is an appropriate setup and forgoes the standard intro track, diving straight into what sounds like an old recycled Darkthrone riff, which is most likely recycled from Venom. Either way, it is still cool to hear something new with something old on something local.
The third track “Edge of Black Waters” is my favorite cut and is the slowest track of this entire affair. It’s just a really cool song and I love the guitar in this, the throwback solo is kick ass. “Colored Spores of Yuggoth” checks off the spacier, Lovecraft song box and is also another track I really enjoyed.
I won’t keep everyone here with more track-by-track, but just give The Carnal Sabbath a spin if you’re into some dark sounding local black metal that wasn’t recorded with a tape deck in a basement. The rest of the album is just as dark sounding and thumping as the first half. The black metal scene here in Denver could use more quality acts and Helleborus is a good addition based on this debut.
The Carnal Sabbath is available now from Satanath Records. Helleborus is playing Denver’s Bluebird Theater July 15 with Of Feather and Bone, Belhor and Scepter of Eligos.