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Helium Horse Fly

Experimental/Post Metal

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Helium Horse Fly Hollowed album cover
4.09 | 23 ratings | 3 reviews | 13% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Happiness (6:02)
2. In a Deathless Spell (14:20)
3. Algeny (8:32)
4. Progeny (4:26) *
5. Monochrome (11:40)
6. Shelter (2:28)

Total Time 47:28

* Not on LP

Line-up / Musicians

- Marie Billy / vocals
- Stéphane Dupont / guitar, keyboards, vocals, co-producer
- Dimitri Iannello / bass
- Gil Chevigné / drums

- Bertrand de Lamalle / alto saxophone (1)

Releases information

Artwork: David McCraven

CD Dipole Experiment Records ‎- DER-002 (2019, Belgium)

LP Dipole Experiment Records ‎- DER-002 (2019, Belgium) With a track less

Digital album

Thanks to siLLy puPPy for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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HELIUM HORSE FLY Hollowed ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

HELIUM HORSE FLY Hollowed reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars While it seemed as if they had fallen off the face of the Earth, the Belgian based HELIUM HORSE FLY from Liege returns after a six year gap following their 2013 eponymous debut and returns with an even noisier, darkened atmospheric hardcore and experimental slice of avant-garde post-metal with another disturbingly weird album cover and sound to match. This second full- length album HOLLOWED finds three members: Marie Billy (vocals), Stephane Dupont (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Dimitri Iannello (bass) returning for a reprise however original drummer Bastien Dupont has been replaced with new percussionist Gil Chevigne.

HELIUM HORSE FLY emerged at the beginning of the decade with an extremely dark and disturbing sound that takes a spacey angular approach on post-metal with intense emotionally scarring atmospheric dark clouds blocking out the sun for a very surreal journey into some sort of tortured soul's bleakest emotional outlook and with the black and white album art makes me think of the movie "The Elephant Man" for some reason. HOLLOWED picks up exactly where the band left off but takes all the elements into ever more extreme territories.

Musically speaking, the avant-garde elements remind me most of early Kayo Dot especially the twisted cacophonous dissonance of "Dowsing Anenome With Copper Tongue" as ominous guitar chords create a wall of frightening sound that finds Marie Billy's half- sung lyrics in a state of anxiety in weirdly off-kilter counterpoints from the instrumental backdrop that finds the guitar, bass and drums all existing in their own little worlds while conspiring to create a very ruggedly dangerous greater sum of the parts. The title HOLLOWED is perfect as the music sounds like a rock band where all members have experienced lobotomies and only shades of black, white and gray remain after all the colors of the rainbow have been extinguished.

Rhythmically the band progresses like a fairly normal rock band with soft sensual clean guitar driven intros with darkened atmospheric backdrops but proceed to heavier alternative metal climaxes, however the dissonant noise angst that comes from the provoking alternative tunings and oddly juxtaposed angularities adds intense layers of industrial bleakness creating a post-punk sounding style of math rock sputtering around in an atmospheric post-rock sort of trajectory. This is indeed downer music but the kind that envisions a sense of profound beauty lurking under the surface below. The hard-hitting harshness is smoothed out by mystery and melancholy with ambient swirls and echoey guitars or jazzified drum outbursts in the company of raging guitar and bass noise. The production is excellent.

HOLLOWED contains two behemoth tracks "In A Deathless Spell" and "Monochrome" that exceed the eleven minute mark with the remainder rating form near three to over eight. The musical style is surely a grower but has a weird perverted seduction as the slightly off tune melodies exude a logical melodic progression without actually explicitly existing as if the music is a mere shadow of an unheard underpinning. While the textures and timbres remind me a lot of early Kayo Dot, the music itself has a more pseudo- melodic post-rock progression with Marie Billy's vocals adding a frigid fresh blanket of frost to the already wintry abstractness. It's hard to explain what makes this band so addictive but it's like a bitter chai without sugar. It stimulates and slightly disgusts at the same time. Dark and dreary. Perfect for a rainy day!

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars The band from Belgium that goes under the name of "Helium Horse Fly" has not been heard from since 2013. Finally, in early 2019, we get a new, and very dark release from the band in their 2nd studio album "Hollowed". Consisting of a vocalist (Marie Billy), guitarist and keyboardist (Stephane Dupont), bassist (Dimitri Ianello) and drummer (newcomer Gil Chevingne), the band can conjure up some interesting sounds seeing as their musical backgrounds come from everything from free form jazz to metal.

The album is made up of 6 tracks (one less on the vinyl version) ranging from 2 ½ minutes to 14+ minutes with a total run time of over 47 minutes. The album starts with "Happiness", not necessarily the name of a track you would expect on an album such as this. A noise fuzzy guitar and a keyboard drone announce the vocals from Marie that are perfectly suited for the style, somewhere between operatic with a Bjork strangeness, and melodies that are definitely not straightforward. They sound somewhat improvised using a song-like quality, but verging on dramatic spoken word. The background instrumentals start building in intensity, even though it is already intense, by adding in a guest saxophonist, which only heightens the tension being generated. At 4 minutes, there is a sudden change as the drone stops, percussion kicks in and dissonant guitar chords play against the bass and keyboards in a quick churning whirlpool of heavy sound until we hit a sudden, unexpected ending.

"In a Deathless Spell" is the longest track at over 14 minutes and begins much softer, but no less darker as we get a swirling drone and Marie's softer vocalization. You can notice a similarity in the lyrical and melodic style of the band and "Kayo Dot" as Silly Puppy mentioned in his review, and this is an accurate observation. That is probably the closest you'll get to knowing what to expect here, and the comparison is well deserved. A few short outbursts erupt from the dreamy feeling, but it continues on in the second section of lyrics, but this time the softness is short lived as we mix heaviness with little bits of quick jazz-like broken chords. These sounds all mix very well. There is a heavy and complex instrumental break before things quiet down again to a single, pensive guitar that creates an expansive and dark meandering passage. Nearing the 8 minute mark, the hesitant vocals return. Then there is a sudden outburst as the band kicks in again with a very progressive passage of complex rhythm from the drums which is mirrored by the guitar. After a while, a surprising choral style section starts creating a unique and almost threatening feel to the music. The drumming stops as everything else carries on with an echo effect added to the choral sound and this gets nice and spooky sounding. The heaviness and intensity abates as things slowly fade to get replaced by atmospheric synths. Excellent track!

"Algeny" is the track that follows next. Again we have a solo guitar playing broken jazz chords this time against a minimal background. Soon, vocals begin with pensive singing following the guitar notes. In the background there is some metallic dissonance, then the bass and drums establish a somewhat funky pattern. The vocals continue, this time with a brighter attitude, yet remaining a bit hesitant still. Later, it returns to just a solo bass with vocals, soon the drums join in almost approaching the original pattern, until the full band suddenly join in and carry everything into a heavy progressiveness. Cool! This goes on for a while, and then just stops leaving the bass and vocals again.

"Progeny" is a bit shorter at just over 4 minutes, but is a heavy post-metal sound, again similar to Kayo Dot with its complex patterns. It all breaks down and builds again quickly to a nice post-rock feel not unlike GY!BE since things become a little more melodic in the echo-y guitar line. This is a nice instrumental interlude, but is definitely not filler by any means.

Next is another long track called "Monochrome" that goes over 11 minutes. Starting with another vocal section, again with a small choral feel to it, it starts off dark and soft, but with a nice jazz feel to the drums and slightly subdued guitars. A little before the 4 minute mark, there is a sudden intensity as we enter a more complex section with wilder drumming and dissonant guitars playing against each other. This lasts for a little over a minute, the softness and vocals return for a short time, then the bass and drums start churning out a spinning complex pattern and a guitar line comes in strumming against it all, but the drums win out while they take the spotlight against a subdued drone. They fade out while the drone continues, with echoes of the choral section and guitars play far off in the distance, almost indiscernible. Get ready! A sudden eruption will make you jump as another heavy section breaks in and continues to the distorted end of the track.

The last track is a short one, at just over 2 minutes. "Shelter" feels like you've reached a safe place with a soft guitar supporting the vocal. "But there's still something out there."

What an amazing band and album this is, ingenious, unpredictable, and a level of uniqueness with echoes of experimentation, an excellent use of dynamics and no fear of exploring deep and dark passages of music. If you love the experimental heavy sound of bands like Kayo Dot, you will love this, but the music doesn't go completely off the rails like KD can at some times. Besides this comparison, however, HHF is original in their own sounds, finding territory that has been unexplored and hopefully will be explored more in their future albums, like those ghostly sounding choral sections. There is plenty of complexity and a lot of extreme dynamic experimentation here too. Once again, we have another new album that I highly recommend this month.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Here we have some stunning post metal, somewhat adventurous all the way through. The moniker HELIUM HORSE FLY is representing a quartet hailing from Belgium. And this is their sophomore album, released in 2019, which means leaving a gap of 6 years behind. Well worth the wait! Stéphane Dupont is mainly responsible for the compositions, additionally will care for guitars and keyboards. Also remarkable of course, Marie Billy delivers some beautiful unique vocals, definitely avantgarde tinged, partially akin to Bjork or Courtney Swain maybe. Album title and cover illustration will give you a proper clue beforehand. This is atmospheric, tension-filled, albeit angular, dark mooded and heavy loaded too. Doesn't allow colors anymore for roundabout 50 minutes, boundless shades of grey in any case though.

It doesn't take long and you'll know that Marie's companions are experienced musicians, no doubt. Decorated with stirring vocals Happiness is establishing an irresistible wall of sound for some time. Dissolving towards the end, probably into happiness(?), as if they finally are able to free themselves from an unwanted embrace. Chapeau! Furthermore hypnotic bass lines are striking on Algeny, while Progeny comes partially infected with a chamber tinged orchestral flair. What a wondrous challenge! A sinister mood contradicted by incredible melodies. State of the art, technically unflawed, capturing your attention and concentration sooner or later.

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