Helleborus – The Carnal Sabbath

Rating: 2.5/5
Distributor/label: Satanath Records & Black Plague Records
Distributor/label URL: http://satanath.com
Released: 2016
Buy Album: https://helleborusblack.bandcamp.com/releases
Band Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Helleborus

Helleborus - The Carnal Sabbath

Band line-up:

Jerred Houseman, all instruments
Wyatt Houseman, vocals


1. Helleborus Black
2. Coils
3. Edge of Black Waters
4. Colored Spoes of Yuggoth
5. Draconian Discipline
6. The Poison of Sleep
7. Temple of Seventh Death
8. A Gift of Renewal
9. The Carnal Sabbath


Satanath Records in collaboration with Black Plague Records released the American duo Helleborus’ debut album The Carnal Sabbath in June this year. It is a well-done symphonic album for the style’s enthusiasts. If you cannot get enough of symphonic black, this one’s definitely for you.

The album from the very start is indeed very erotic. Well from the name, one should not really expect anything else anyway from the title, but the idea of carnality is well impressed to the music. The opener ‘Helloborus Black’ does not give a minute to breathe. It is a full on blast! The interluding guitar riff in particular in this song is especially impressive.

‘Coils’ takes it a bit slower than before with an intro and bells. You can hear influences from Behemoth, Belphegor, and Watain throughout the album. The duo plays around with the styles of black metal and blackened death well. ‘Edge of Black Waters’ feels much more symphonic than the songs that came before. We are suddenly in a different territory. This is where Helleborus settles and rest of the album is heard as part of a much more traditional sound. The guitar playing overall is immaculate. I am missing the ‘carnal’ feeling by the time ‘The Poison of Sleep’ rolls in. This song shows strong influence from mid-period Emperor: dissonant and quick riffs followed by arpeggios, traditional drumming switching between more expressive parts and quick blasts, a majestic feeling overall.

‘A Gift of Renewal’ indeed gives a refresher to the album and we suddenly find ourselves in a mid-paced death metal area. The album settles to its end a repeated and faded out riff in the final moments of the title song. I am not sure what to think of the whole album. It sounds a bit eclectic and I am not sure if I like those eclectic bits anyway. For a black metal album released in 2016, it sounds too old fashioned. It is a well-produced album but a bit too formulaic in terms of its content.

Review by M Selim Yavuz