Dark and atmospherically emotive, imposing yet seductively immersive, Still Bleeding the debut album from Helfir, is a haunting and at times chilling embrace radiating an inescapable and persistent persuasion. It is a fascinating and more often than not bewitching proposition providing escape from the mundane of life but ironically explores just as solemnly reflective and emotionally melancholic climes. The contrast between the two though is as rich as the sounds fuelling the temptation, the album soaked in noir brewed beauty transporting ears and imagination into sublime and sorrowful realms.
Helfir is the solo project of Italian multi-instrumentalist Luca Mazzotta, the co-founder and guitarist of Silvered and guitarist of neofolk band NID. 2013 saw Mazzotta begin working on his solo project, subsequently performing alongside Antimatter, a band it is easy to suggest is an influence to Helfir alongside the likes of Anathema and Porcupine Tree,. Apart from additional drum parts from Antonio Fanizza and Francesco Politi on a few tracks, Monza hailing Mazzotta provides everything upon Still Bleeding, enveloping ears and tantalising the imagination from its very first breath.
The initial cold caress of Oracle starts off the dark flight of sound and emotion, keys with a funereal air coaxing thoughts before a spoken narrative and warm guitar enticement add to the captivating start. Apart from that early brief passage of narrative, the track is primarily an instrumental reflecting the dark words spoken with haunting elegance and poetic melodies.
My Blood slips in as its predecessor departs, a similarly bred but individually mournful embrace of sound and emotion smothering and igniting the senses. The expressive voice of Mazzotta is as downcast as the melodic beauty around him and as compelling, his tones alluring and emotive within the web of samples, prowling rhythms, and incendiary guitar invention, and all within a tempestuous atmosphere. The track is spellbinding, sparking deep thoughts and feelings which as the whole album, inspires the imagination to run with its own dark tales alongside those of the proposition.
An even darker and disquieting hug follows in the shape of In The Circle, its initial gently shadowed kiss evolving into a rich tapestry of flavours and textures. There is a volatile heart and landscape to the track too, its blaze of progressive and alternative rock one of the flames forging the dramatic incitement. As its predecessor, it grips with immediate strength and prowess but as Still Bleeding itself and most tracks within, blossoms into an increasingly powerful and emotional impact over time.
Alone is further proof of the thick creative theatre and engrossing prowess of songs and sound, its crestfallen heart and shadow fuelled radiance as invigorating as its disconsolate smog is light sapping whilst Dresses Of Pain exposes its own grander and bolder but no less melancholically intimate and emotive depths. There is a fiery ambience and energy to the song which ebbs and flows so that personal aspect can unveil its raw palette within the more explosive textures. Both songs seduce the dark corners of thoughts and feelings to console with those of the song; a persuasion which Black Flame equally sculpts into its pungently expressive and doleful touching beauty. Again a common factor across the album, the vocal and lyrical prowess of Mazzotta is as enthralling as the almost maelstrom like weave of skilfully crafted sounds.
Arguably the darkest emotional anguish and suffocation loaded shadows on the album are revealed by Portrait Of A Son, its dour yet beaming charm fuelling one invasive trespass and mesmeric kiss. The song is gripping setting up the listener for the brief instrumental led haunting of Where Are You Now? and finally the climactic tempest of Night And Deceit, a conflagrant roar of invention, craft, and blackened emotion.
At times a proposition which could push already darkened hearts into inescapable turmoil through its open and beauteous melancholy, Still Bleeding is a feast of imagination and emotional intensity. Luca Mazzotta as Helfir might not have created the most immediately welcoming listens but as an impacting and persistently alluring incitement, he has unveiled a haunting success.
Still Bleeding is available now via My Kingdom Music @ http://mykingdommusic.bigcartel.com/product/helfir-still-bleeding-digicd