Haniwa – ‘Helleven’   12 comments

Haniwa are a 3 piece Florentine band, with past experiences of thrash, prog and grunge and 20 years plus of playing multiple tribute and covers bands. Now playing their own original material, based around modern metal, with an old school twist – fast-paced, catchy songs, with grooves and sporadic use of melodic intro’s. Pouring everything they’ve got into ‘Helleven’, it’s an 11 track album, with a unique, individual twist, incorporating various influential genres, which, combined, have contributed to Haniwa’s finely developed style. Produced on impulse, ‘Helleven’ mixes single and combo genres, resulting in the band chemistry and song-writing experience which allowed them to create the album inside a year. Available on Qua Rock Records.

No More – Unusual cymbal intro, followed by an unexpectedly gentle, flamenco style section, before morphing into a brutally heavy sound. Great use of vocal pitch and inflection, creating a style borrowing from death, melodic and thrash elements, resulting in a combo of all 3. Added to the heavy drum rolls and increasingly aggressive riffs, it makes for a lively, stand-out track, neither fixed, nor loose. It’s inventive, versatile and unafraid and as such, makes a positive first impression.

Daggers Drawn – Instant catch, a classic melodic hard rock sound opens, making good use of the bass and drum elements, around which, much of the heaviness is based. Some deeply enjoyable riffage and catchy vocals, both melodic and brutal, in their way and combining anthemic accompaniments, with solo choruses, in a strangely workable way. The experimental vibe is clear and it’s surprisingly vibrant.

Tomorrow – Opening with a single, unabashed drum hit, the vocal brutality here is instant, but it’s still so catchy, colourful and uplifting. Throwing in some equally vivid riffage, I’m loving that European flavour and the whole vibe of variety, within it. Always offering something new, it’s alive with possibility.

Think This – Drums introing again, with similar surety, but even more aggression, infecting the vocals and riffs, with the same. Passion speaks loud and clear and it doesn’t miss the opportunity to inject some fun melody. Hugely lively and still so deliciously heavy. Divine.

Volcano – Increasing the speed, with a crazed drum fill, yet more catch and a gorgeously anthemic buzz. So much melody, vocally and riff-based, consistently heavy and those drums go crazy throughout. There’s nothing to dislike here. A highly lovable and life affirming track.

Tides Of Time – Softly introing, with a laid-back beach vibe, the soothing sound moves, with perfectly honed timing, into a heavier, hardened section, growing in brutal intensity. They still don’t waste the melody. Again, interweaving solo and backing vocals, the flexibility just works. Original and impressive.

Haniwa – Booming opening there. Unarguably and unapologetically heavy. Melodically sound again, the breezy speed riffs are ideally placed and you’ve got to love the direct, assertive lyrics. Short, but says it all and very effectively. Stand-out track.

Fire Eyes – Riffs taking the lead now, that fact alone holds appeal. Slight Kyrbgrinder-esque arrangements, heaviness rules and the upbeat performance is enlivening. Such a catchy rhythm and some really classic pacing in there, too. Plenty to love here. Especially the gradually increasing aggression and the effectiveness with which it’s delivered. Carefully conveyed closing feedback riff, into which, so much palpable thought and energy’s gone.

Return To Obscurity – Nicely sinister intro, more vocal focus here. A wonderfully open energy to it. Building momentum, in a highly appealing way, it’s almost like a metal playing road roller, coming towards you, with such metallic force, from the songs within, that you don’t care if it runs you over. So long as you can hear the metal, as it does.

Suffer – Getting heavier, all the time, picking up the pace, some audibly awesome fingerpicking fills it with heightened power. That’s the main thing here – power. It’s packed with it and then some. An energy fuelled extravaganza.

Helleven – Now there’s an intro you could just climb inside and cover yourself with. Soaked in metal promise and pouring with true, true passion. It’s a track going beyond review/analysis, warranting pure love and engrossing you completely and as such, as a closer, it’s an ace.

Overall – A star find amongst the morass. Where metal’s concerned, this is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A colourful, vibrant, lively and uplifting experiment in variety and versatility. Demonstrating non-conformism, at its richest, it’s a really workable combo of intriguing and eclectic styles and as such, it succeeds. Enormously. The metal equivalent of a giant pack of skittles, with ever-changing colours and themes. A metal connoisseur’s dream.

9/10 *********

For fans of eclectic styles of metal, including melodic, NW, classic, prog, thrash, Bay Area, European, Gypsy, Flamenco and everything in between.

Posted August 27, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

12 responses to “Haniwa – ‘Helleven’

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