Helevorn have been churning out lesser known doom metal/Gothic metal records since the early 2000s, and they’re now on album number three. As Helevorn were preparing for their release of Compassion Forlorn late last month, yours truly was fortunate to have guitarist Samuel Morales answer some questions about their new album, the Helevorn sound and more.
1. Your third full-length, Compassion Forlorn, will be released next week through Solitude Productions/BadMoodMan Music. Going into the recording process, what were your main goals for this particular album?
In each album we try be ourselves and give 100% of us, when you have good people reaction and also media, you know that everyone understand our music, this is our first goal, that people understand what we want to express with our music, we are having great reviews so it seems that people do, now next step is see if we can make more gigs with “Compassion Forlorn” . We are an underground band and Doom Metal is the most underground genre in Metal so now get a nice tour around Europe will be a nice goal. Let’s see what happens in a near future.
Samuel Morales, guitars
2. The chord progressions, guitar riffs and ambiances on both 2010’s Forthcoming Displeasures and the upcoming release seem fuller and more weighted than the songs on your first full-length, Fragments. Why did you decide to push your sound in a heavier, more doom metal-inspired direction?
Well, I think that the main difference is that in “Fragments” album we have only one guitar, Samuel, and make composition with only one guitar on Doom that is a music that supposed to be really heavy, slow and melancholic is not easy. Also we were on transition times leaving a side that gothic vein and giving to our music more power and Doom characteristics. I have to say that when we record “Forthcoming Displeasures” we want to have really powerful guitars, we told that to Jens, not to sound like an usual Doom Metal band, so he did it, that works a lot for us and in this album we want to sound more powerful and heavy so, here you are.
3. Did you grow up on heavy metal music?
Yes, the whole band did it, we are fans of Iron Maiden Metallica, Judas Priest, Manowar, Ozzy, we will never been in any kind of band if those bands did not exist or if we never know about them.
4. What’s the metal scene like around Palma de Mallorca? How has it changed since the establishment of Helevorn?
We have a great scene in Mallorca nowadays. Is plenty of nice new bands, some of them well known on Mainland like Trallery, Bleed The Man, Devouring, Battehorn, but we are the only in Doom Metal. Well, when we started this in 1999 there was lots of bands also, most of them Punk, but here was Golgotha, one of the biggest Spanish Doom Metal acts ever, and there are great friends of us and try to help in every way that they could, so now is time for us to help our local bands and friends in every way. We are really proud about what is working in this island, so plenty of quality bands for a really small scene that we have here. Hope that we will grow healthy like we are doing now.
5. On Compassion Forlorn, you’ve incorporated guest vocals by the Irish singer-songwriter, Lisa Cuthbert, as well as the work of guitarist, Pedro Zubiri (Blind Panic). How did those collaborations come about?
Pedro is a long time friend of the band, especially Sandro, he is a great guitar player, so we thought that was a good idea to ask him to collaborate with a guitar solo on the album and he really enjoy the idea, so one morning he came to the studio and record the principal guitar solo on “Els Dies Tranquils”.
Lisa was a bit more difficult to find. We ask first to Aleah from Trees Of Eternity but she unfortunately was ill on that time and she cannot help us, so she recommend us to Lisa, we did not know here, so we start listening to her album and we thought it was perfect for us! So we decide to send her an email and she ask something like “wow that can be great, please send the track” , so she recorded a lovely vocal line also in “Els Dies Tranquils”.
6. I understand the name, “Helevorn,” is a lake in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, and its surface is described as looking like black glass with opaque depths. Would you say the lake’s appearance fits your sound or songwriting approach? Who was responsible for choosing that name for the band?
In 1999 we had a keyboard player called Eva, she was really fan of every Tolkien’s world, so she suggest that it can be a nice name because it means all what we are, dark, deep, sad, so yes, it fits perfect with the band.
7. Your version of Katatonia’s “12” on Fragments also landed a spot on the compilation, December Songs: A Tribute To Katatonia. Did Katatonia ever have an influence on your musical angles? What other song(s) would you like to cover in the future?
Sure, those old bands like Katatonia, Paradise Lost, Anathema, My Dying Bride, Celestial Season, had influenced in our sound and I think that in all Doom Metal bands of this “new generation”.
We use to make covers on some shows when we have enough time to play, but now we do not have plans to record any, this not means that we will never record one.
8. It’s been more than a decade since you released your first demo, Prelude. Have you shared any interesting, funny or unusual experiences as a band?
In 2007 we made a tour with Swallow The Sun and we share van, it was November and it was really cold outside, so the van travels with the windows closed. We had something like ¾ hours travel till the next city and seems that some of the STS boys did not feel very well, so he start farting all the way, what do Finnish people eat? You cannot imagine how was that trip, we start opening the windows, it was raining outside, but belive me, is better to get wet than smell that again!!
9. The premiere of the music video for “Burden Me” from Compassion Forlorn is just a few days away. How enthused are you about that?
We are really happy people are like it and share it everywhere, we have really nice feedback from everybody, tons of visits to the video, nice comments, it has been video of the week in one webzine www.terrarelicta.com so we only can say thanks to everyone that is watching to it.
10. You’re scheduled to play at MetalMancho Festival in Granada next month. What can folks expect from your set? Will you be including any dates outside of Europe at some point?
Is really great to play at MetalMancho, people can expect a great show with of course songs of the new album and some old also. We love playing live so for sure people can have a good time watching our show. We always do our best and we are really looking to play there because is our first gig with “Compassion forlorn” songs, it would be great!
Now we are also working in get all European dates that we can, so stay tuned on our website www.helevorn.com. We will soon update with some more dates around Spain and of course Europe.
I greatly appreciate you taking the time to participate in this interview, and best of luck to you with Compassion Forlorn! Would you like to mention anything else in closing?
Thank you and of course all Metal Mellowdee readers for been so close to Helevorn. Enjoy music any kind, any genre, anywhere at any time.
Special thanks to R. Sújar and WTF Management.
Be sure to check out my review of Helevorn’s Compassion Forlorn.