Inner Helvete - _Total Bloodshedding Devastation_
(Ordealis Productions, 2003)
by: James Montague (5.5 out of 10)
I don't think most black metal bands set out with the goal of sending their listeners into giggling fits, but that was my reaction when I first heard the perilously thin guitar sound and ridiculously low, processed vocals that form the core of Inner Helvete's approach. But having gotten over the sheer absurdity of their "music" (and I use the term very loosely), I found something strangely alluring about this Portuguese trio.

It cannot be disputed that in taking certain aspects of black metal to wild extremes, Inner Helvete stand out as a unique entity. They have also managed to create quite the infernal atmosphere. The LP sleeve (this is limited to 500 vinyl copies and will never be pressed onto CD -- get with the program, people!) is an immaculate conception of beheaded Christians and dancing demons amidst the eerie reddish glow of hell's innermost dungeons. And by placing six ambient tracks of whipping, torture and various evil doings in amongst the six proper black metal tracks, the band continually reinforces the idea of eternal torment and pain.

In this environment, the thin guitar and bizarre vocals start to make sense. While the LP comes with an elaborate lyric sheet, the vocalist makes no attempt to actually recite the verses -- rather, it is simply a demonic groan ringing in the ears of the damned. The guitar riffs are simple and very noisy, almost sending the music into ambient territory with their constant drone. The end result is an album that can be very effective and atmospheric if one can turn off their cynical side. Personally, I almost feel ashamed of this album and at times have considered it too ridiculous to warrant a serious review. But somehow, somewhere, there is a hellish element within the noise that is captivating.


(article published 22/7/2003)

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