Helioss – Contre ma Lumière (Review)

Helioss - Contre ma LumièreThis is the fifth album from French progressive black/death metallers.

Helioss play a hybrid style of black and death metal that has progressive influences and symphonic aspects. Across 62 minutes Contre ma Lumière delivers a multifaceted album of atmosphere, aggression, and majestic grandeur.

Contre ma Lumière has many different components on display, and many different personalities vying for the listener’s attention and focus. It’s a well-written affair, so everything ties together nicely, but it’s also not an album that’s easy to digest properly in one sitting. There’s a lot going on in these eight tracks and there’s much to explore. From sheer brutality to delicate atmosphere, to avant-garde madness, to melancholic orchestration, to malevolent grandeur, and a range of other styles, ideas, and feelings, Contre ma Lumière is both ambitious and effective.

A death and black metal heart underpins everything here, allowing Helioss to showcase pure brutal aggression and fiery blackened darkness when the need calls for it. On top of this, symphonic and avant-garde elements add a lot of colour, character, and texture to the music, helping to shape its fierce underbelly into something else. There’s an epic side to the music for sure, but also a theatrical one, which layers the music with a personality that might have been at odds with the music’s harsher tendencies were it not integrated into the whole so well. Contre ma Lumière also has a progressive streak that takes the music out of the realms of black and death on occasion.

All of the above is skilfully woven into the tapestry of Contre ma Lumière, making for a diverse and engaging listen. The band genre-hop across multiple styles and feelings frequently, but never to the detriment of the music. This reminds me of the exciting times near the end of the 90s when more and more black metal acts were diversifying and experimenting. Think of this, and then add a more contemporary progressive sheen, and you’ll be on the right lines for what Helioss have created here.

Oh, also – the vocals are exceptional on this release. Not just in what they sound like, but how they are performed and interact with the music.

If a mix of bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus, Dødheimsgard, Jours PâlesVeilburner, and Ne Obliviscaris appeals, then make sure you check out Helioss.

Very highly recommended.

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