Containing 38 minutes of material, The Lore of the Cloaked Assembly delivers black metal steeped in the old ways; Helvellyn worship at the altar of 90s second wave black metal. The band have clearly been blessed by their dark gods, as their music recalls the classics, while also offering something worth listening to in 2022.
An album like this lives or dies by its riffs and rhythms, its songwriting in general, and the talents of the singer. Thankfully Helvellyn are very proficient in this regard. The band’s traditional blackened assault is cold and harsh, with frosted atmosphere and vicious high-pitched screams. Helvellyn obviously know their source material well, and they use this to inform their music without being overwhelmed by the weight of history.
The songs are well-written and bristle with attitude and spiked weaponry. Each track is as welcoming and as familiar as a lovingly cared-for blade. The guitars are capable of unleashing the sort of icy grooves that can freeze the blood in your veins, while the drumming is surprisingly creative in places. Helvellyn’s grim art is fully-formed and executed with skill and passion.
The Lore of the Cloaked Assembly is authentically old-school, and could easily be a long lost gem from black metal’s formative years. How much you get out of this album depends on your tolerance for this very atavistic style, but for me, Helvellyn’s raw and uncompromising black metal assault is a joy to listen to.
For fans of the second wave’s golden era, this is very highly recommended.