Review: Heleven “Into the Oceans” [Art Gates Records]

Review: Heleven “Into the Oceans” [Art Gates Records]

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Art Gates Records this March have presented new album “Into the Oceans” of alternative metal band Heleven from sunny Spain. And once again Heleven have managed to shift themselves delicately to a more diverse material towards a heavier sound. But these changes are so sublime, that they can’t destroy the integrity of their trademark style.

“Into the Oceans” is the second creation of this modern and melancholic band, and it expands the boundaries of alternative metal with a refined precision, entwining with a melodic rock, grunge, and nu metal. And all is covered in a thick layer of atmospheric honesty. The modern sound makes their music more comprehensible and lucid, but their yearning for the dirty grunge nostalgia reminds of the beginning of 2000s. This record also has deeper emotional side and the pensive and intelligent lyrics, turning them closer to an indie movement, but in a calm and detached manner. And the sophisticated spirit makes “Into the Oceans” a bit progressive, though the music itself isn’t filled with technical marvels or over-complicated passages. It flows like the waters of the ocean, from profound and black abyss of stillness to a vigorous, transparent waves of the strong flow, but without dramatic turns, on the contrary, in the harmonious and relaxing temper. And amidst this water world, all the drama is concentrated on a fall of one person (like in a cover art), desperate attempt for salvation, physical and subconscious.

The album isn’t prominently fast, but some of the songs have this groovy drive in them, as well as catchy guitar riffs. The choruses usually take over all the drastic changes – adding some synth pop notes (“Into the Oceans”) or more serious and melodic approach (“Broken”). The melodic and tender guitar passages romanticize the mood of this album (“Lesson Learned”), but never with a sugary aftertaste. The song “Rise Again” is a creepy ambient piece, full of anxious discomfort. There are lot of traditional alt. metal vibes on this record, but not in a pure classical way, it’s still full of surprises. The post-rock and even math rock influence confidently leads on the track “Lesson Learned”, but acoustic elements steadily adorn some intros and outros (“Mistakes” or “Promised Land”). The metalcore atmosphere and very low guitar chords point out about their hardcore/alternative roots, so the foundation of “Into the Oceans” is still very core-based. The voice of their singer and guitarist Higinio Ruiz is so ideally fitted to the alternative rock scene 20 years ago (in the manner of Alice in Chains or Deftones), moderately high with a smoky tinge in it, varying from meditative monotonousness to emotional cries, such a classy accompaniment to this reflexive and melancholic mood.

During five years of existence Heleven were able to find their own style, navigating between the traditional soulfulness of alternative rock/metal scene of the past and indie and experimental melodic levity of the modern music, outside all the structural or compositional clichés. So, with every new record these Spanish musicians develop their personal creative visions in such an artsy manner.

Release date: March 12th, 2021

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