If you’re into melodic, yet uncompromised progressive metal, the name of HELREIDH might sound somehow familiar to your ears. Yes, this Italian band was active in the second half of the Nineties, releasing a couple of excellent albums, before entering a long hiatus, which the new ‘Fragmenta’ is now about to break.
Remember the thrilling melodies of the debut, ‘Mémories’, released 1997? Or the varied, multi-layered sound of the following ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ EP? These two releases brought HELREIDH of the agenda of most progressive metal lovers back at the time, before that unsurprising internal issues tore the band apart, even before releasing the anticipated second full-length, ‘Earth Chronicles’.
Well, these two releases now have a worth successor in the shape of the new ‘Fragmenta’, an album which doesn’t only revive the spirit of the old HELREIDH, but brings with him a number of new elements, starting with a strongly renewed line-up. Aside founding members Yorick (guitars) and Luca Roggi (drums), HELREIDH anno 2012 feature as well Max ‘The Voice’ Bastasi (vocals), Aligi Pasqualetto (keyboards) and Francesco ‘Frana’ De Paoli (bass, ex-Raising Fear). What’s most important, they sport a significantly wider musical spectrum. Their progressive roots still play a key role into the music of HELEIDH, but elements of classic rock, hard rock and progressive rock are to be found as well.
The title says a lot: ‘Fragmenta’, a collection of fragments, individual stories yet to be told. And the stories of the single tracks are pretty different: songs dating back to the early phase of the band, musical ideas deriving from other projects and brand new songs, all merge together to create a sound that brings together passion, power, feeling and musical intensity.
To make it short, with this new album HELREIDH have managed to reach new heights, creating a sound that’s heavier and more complex, but also catchy and moving, rich of progressive and symphonic edges. Fans of Savatage, Kamelot and Ayreon will have their fun in the new ‘Fragmenta’, an album which deserves its own recognition, aside from any possible comparison.
HELREIDH are back, with a progressive vengeance!
(Sandro Buti, Metal Maniac)