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Many claim that the boundaries between metal's multitude of subgenres have blurred to the point of rendering them redundant and non-descriptive in accurately categorising the music they've been coined to expound. That's certainly true in many cases but then there are bands such as Hellsaw who are unequivocally black metal through pertaining to subgeneric traits - blast beats, passages of tremolo-picked guitar, dissonant melodies, shrieked vocals etc. However, rather than being merely imitative of what's gone before in said subgenre, Hellsaw manage to inject enough genuine melancholy and atmosphere into their aesthetic and their music has just enough variance (only just though), and well composed/executed songs to make them stand out a little from the formulaic school of black metal. The press sheet mentions "an authentic atmosphere seldom experienced within the genre" and that's probably the album's key strength, together with a neat production that manages to balance out rawness with resonance to good effect that will no doubt please black metal purists as well as casual listeners to such bands. The overall feel of songs is a slow-burning one, despite the extremity in their approach. That is to say, Hellsaw are in no rush to bombard you with a ton of ideas and innovation in a short time space, rather they allow melodies and motifs (and subtle innovation) to breathe and develop within the song structures. In that sense, 'Trist' is an album that you'd need to dedicate some serious attention and time to fully click with its melancholically charged atmosphere. There are no quick hits of sonic adrenaline here; tracks take their time to unfold and reveal their melancholic essence. And when they do, it's a fully engaging listen, and an album that warrants and demands repeated listens. Well worth checking out.
Napalm Records
Review by Mark Holmes
24th Feb 2012
1) The Devil is Calling My Name
2) Sorrow is Horror
3) Doom Pervades Nightmares
4) The Forerunner of the Apocalypse
5) Death Bells
6) Trist
7) A Winter Cold
8) Bedlam.1450
9) Silence
"Hellsaw are in no rush to bombard you with a ton of ideas and innovation in a short time space, rather they allow melodies and motifs...to breathe and develop within the song structures."