Always interesting to put a new CD into the player and having no idea what to expect; the only things I knew is that they're from Singapore; not your everyday country for Metal, that the artwork is odd but of high quality and that they have the impression that deliberately misspelling words is cool (which obviously is not). And of course their name: HELMSKEY. The answer to the question of what to expect quickly became evident after pressing play: Melodic Death Metal of the Gothenburg school. A great style in my opinion, but a crowded one. Still HELMSKEY manage to create a very enjoyable disc, which has its flaws but still pleases in the end.
A very minor flaw is the sound of the bass which is a little too blurry so that the guitars don't come to their full right. The riffs that Marcher and Parkos create are great though, full of speed and melody. Influences of the Gothenburg legends are definitely present, as well as old WITHERING SURFACE, which they also remind me of. It is however with the solos when they really set themselves apart from mediocrity. "Salvage Clandestine" both has great harmonising solos as well as fast and intense ones and all of them are a lust for the ear. "Misere Nobis" is driven by a solid double bass which is played well, as is the rest of the cymbal heavy percussion but the sound is a bit clinical. The snare drum on the other hand sounds great.
Besides handling half of the guitar duties, Marcher is also the vocalist, a decent one with a style that one would except from a Melo-Death band; sometimes he can sway a bit into a more Black-ish style while also managing a deeper grunt like at the end of the title track. "Blade Ov Treachery" is my favourite of this EP, again mainly caused by the sometimes even over-the-top soloing and solid rhythm section. For the balance it's good that they also have a track like the album closer "In The Mist...Thru Darkness" with its more emotional guitar play, it's more of an outro however, but a good one.
A promising band who aren't the most original yet but still have excellent musicianship and also have the much needed spark of energy! I will be looking forward to hear more of them in the future. (Online February 6, 2006)