Helfir is composer and multi-instrumentalist Luca Mazzotta from Monza (Italy). After playing in several rock bands, the classically schooled artist decided to create this solo-project in order to give voice to his own emotions and passion. His genre of choice is dark, melancholic metal, mixed with acoustic rock and a touch of electronics. The result is this album, named Still Bleeding and it's an interesting debut.
Still Bleeding is a collection of powerful rock ballads with a very modern edge. Apart from the bands I mentioned earlier, I'm sometimes even reminded of The Scorpions, or a least a present day, progressive version thereof. Personally, I adore the little electronic elements in the percussion, especially in 'In The Circle', which is an amazing song. These electronics give the album and extra edge and a nice variation in the rock rooted music.
Another surprise is the trip-hop like 'Where Are You Now', driving on keyboards and electronic percussion. It's not really a song but it's a very nice piece of music. In fact, I'd like to see Helfir make an ambient/trip-hop/downtempo spin-off. 'Portrait Of A Son', a brilliant song Anathema forgot to write, mostly drives on piano and brilliant vocal lines and the guitars in 'Dresses Of Pain' somehow remind me of Amorphis' 'Black Winter Day'. These are just a few songs of a high quality collection.
The overall tone on this album is low, slow and gloomy. These keywords are present throughout the entire duration and in every song. Sometimes, this might result in a onesided album without a lot of variation, and I would indeed suggest raising the tempo once in a while. However, the level of songwriting is very high, resulting in a number of solid rock ballads or arena rock songs with a raw edge.
The best thing on the album is the fact that it shows a big part of the talent that Mazzotta possesses. He is a brilliant guitar player, capable of making elaborate solos that remain enjoyable. Often guitar soloists drown into a 'look what I can do' pose which eventually gives them a huge 'cunt' image. In this case, the solos remain a part of the music, enhancing the gloomy atmosphere. There's a sense of modesty within the bombastic sound, which is just awesome.
So in all, this is a very decent debut, promising a pretty solid carreer in the world of progressive metal. Yet, I remain a bit hungry and I feel that Helfir's best work is yet to come. Some uptempo
parts or songs would do the project a lot of good. Highly recommended for both classic and
progressive rock fans (and that's something you don't hear every day, right?)