The history of Stuttgart, Germany-based act Beyond Helvete goes back to the second half of the first decade of this century. At that moment, this project was the main outfit by Sven ‘Natrgaard’ Krause and could be considered a renewed direction on top of his (now defunct) outlets Nachtfrost and Zwenz. After some mini and full-length recordings, things went silent. An immense emptiness remained…
Enter 2020. After eight years of silence, Natrgaard decided to reform this project. He started writing and recording new material, and after being signed to Immortal Frost Productions’ roster, a first result of this collaboration took place: MMXX was created to mark the unstoppable return of Beyond Helvete. This multi-instrumentalist continued writing new material, and eventually he started recording his new compositions. This time, he was helped out by session drummer Jonas Schmid (of Comaniac / Impaler fame) and guest vocalist H.A.V.O.C. (from Blood Torrent), who performs additional voices on Coeval Distemper.
The eight pieces on this fourth album, Anthem Of Decay, have a total running time of forty-one minutes. And the progression compared to the recent and far past is remarkable; and that is something which I mean in a positive sense. As from the opening riff of Inexorable, the listener might enjoy this stunning evolution.
Seriously, Inexorable simply blasts and crushes. The composition balances in between the past and the future; the past being, or bringing, a certain Punk-laden Black’n’Roll nastiness; you know, that provocative middle-finger being put deeply in the behind of any narrow-minded human being (and the asses of their false godlike entities). It’s as if Sarke did collaborate within the song-writing – and why not, within the execution as well. Yet then again, things are much more straight-forward (and that’s my ‘future’-announcement), as if the earlier Nineties (that glorious Second Wave-era) did brutally penetrate the concept behind Beyond Helvete. Merciless, uncompromising, sardonic and sadistic…
That’s what Anthem Of Decay’s progressed attitude stands for. Beyond Helvete nowadays bring intense, fierce, dreadnaught and prodigious blackened Aural Art that balances in between harmonious melodicism and intolerant aggression. The tracks are quite melodic in essence, but they do not focus on guitar-oriented leads exclusively. Okay, the melodious string-section is one of the supporting pillars for sure, but the album does not get carried by tremolo leads or permanent solo-work the whole of the time. Does it matter? No, not at all, in this album’s case. It’s the total experience that overpowers the systematic details of guitar-skilled attitudes. At least as important – or do I have to say ‘marvelous’ – is the drum-work by Jonas. What this guy is able to, is purest frenzy: lightning-fast in representation and spitting on the inertia of any average avalanche or tsunami; then again roaring like an upcoming and all-devastating thunder, or usurping in a thick, suffocative fog. Damn, this guy is a good addition to this record!
But it’s the song-writing in the first place that pisses on innocence and shits on virginity. …more than before! Eruptive blasts, relentless melodies, including traditional structures (I did mention the Second Wave, and I’d like to add ‘Scandinavian’ and, why not, something like ‘necrotic’), acid-spitting throat-rape, blasting machinery… Beyond Helvete offers us, the innocent audience, a sonic artwork that trespasses sanity and normality. And it’s more than a collection of demented delirium and maniacal bellicosity, for behind the militant attitude, there’s a well-thought, a deep-thought intelligence. Anthem Of Decay can easily compete with the ‘bigger’ names within the scene – from Dark Funeral to Gorgoroth, from Craft to Enthroned, and from Taake to Satyricon’s earlier days… …and more, and beyond…
Anthem Of Decay, Beyond Helvete’s second album for Immortal Frost Productions, was printed in an edition of 500 copies, which do include a twelve-page booklet. Once again it comes with absolutely stunning cover-artwork and visual design, courtesy of the label’s long-time collaborator Marko ‘Kozeljnik’ Jerković aka WrathDesign.