"Enraptured By Suffering"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Every second of this album, you will feel like somebody has got you by the throat and is squeezing away mercilessly. Not for a single second does this raging mother let up, not until you are a bruised and bloody heap on the floor!

The Midwest metal scene finds a new champion here with Rock Island's Helmsplitter. This is complete brutality, yet packed to the gills with super catchy riffs and a kind of variety that many supposedly killer acts have forgotten. Right from "Tyrants of Blood", I knew this was a keeper. What a roaring monster that cut is! Think of how you felt the first time you heard "Into the Crypt of Rays" or "Angel of Death" and that's the feeling you should get when hearing this one. What makes it more potent are the slower, more crushing riffs that appear here and there. Helmsplitter knows just when to vary the tempo to keep things sharp and "Enraptured by Suffering" goes from all-out thrash to punishing groove to ugly doom and even some Southern tinged sludge. It's like a massive collision between Goatwhore, Eyehategod, Pantera and Celtic Frost!

It's all good, my brothers, and every song has its riff to break your bones. "Dance of the Heretic" does sound a lot like Goatwhore/Soilent Green in the way it keeps shifti8ng, but the resemblance is no accident, since guitarist Ross Mallie was affiliated with Goatwhore at one time. The Southern/NOLA sound comes to the forefront on "The Ground Breeds Sorrow", where evil bluesy licks appear. But with very next cut "Forged In Fire", the death metal speed slams back into action.

The album has a rough and raw sound that's perfect for the ugly material herein. Is it the most original material you've ever heard? No, but it's not the most derivative, either, and when metal is delivered with the genuine crushing passion within these grooves, then originality be damned! This record should be brought to the attention of underground metallers across the world! A top pick for 2014!