HEMELBESTORMER – Portals (clear/black vinyl) 12inch
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Review – doom-metal.com
Hemelbestormer is Dutch for someone with revolutionary views, an idealist and someone with wild plans. Literally it can be translated as "sky stormer" or "stormer of heaven".
For those of you interested in the origins of how this came together here is something from their Bandcamp page: "As part of the Consouling Sounds collaboration EP series, Vanessa Van Basten and Hemelbestormer teamed up creating a truly unique collaborative effort which resulted into "Portals", a 40 minutes lasting track. When gluing together parts ‘Alpha’, ‘Omega’ and pieces of ‘Portal I’ and ‘II’ they form ‘Portal to the Universe’, the full song Hemelbestormer wrote for this collaboration album. ‘Portal III’ is exclusively recorded as an extra for analogue formats. Released on tape by Tartarus Records."
They have convincingly blended Post-Rock, Black Metal and Sludge/Doom together in this mammoth offering. Hemelbestormer offer us two beautifully crafted songs. Melodic and atmospheric, it is very obvious that these are experienced musicians. The guitars are heavy works of art. Riff after riff sweeps through each song and there are so many different parts in each track. I also love the balance of every instrument, it gives great depth especially when you have long songs over 15 minutes.
On researching more about the band members, the experience is present from their involvement in bands such as Gorath and Serpentcult.
'Portal to the Universe' is the stand-out and main track of this work. You can totally trance out to this song. The opening minutes are slow and your anticipation builds as you're waiting for something to crawl out of its blackened hole and devour you. The building of structures is really great and atmosphere-wise they have got that feel down. Some massive riffs that you can get your teeth into follow, and even though there are not a huge amount of solos or real stand-out lead parts, you don't even notice.
Even after 10 minutes this song still has my full attention. Production is perfect. Heavy and melodic but still open so that you can hear everything as it should be. The drums and bass form a solid foundation and the synths are not overused. Some parts on this song remind me of Ahab: even without vocals this is a really solid piece of work.
‘Portal III’ was recorded especially for the analogue format. A totally different mixture, and ghostly in most parts. This was pretty disturbing and feels like you're locked away in a mental asylum. But it explodes to life around the 6 minute mark, and crushing guitars return to bring your head above the enveloping nightmare.
If you're a fan of Sludge, Post-metal or Doom, this is something that needs your attention. Hemelbestormer are a pleasant awakening. Another Belgian delight.