Diversely talented Portuguese indie rockers, Heylel, have created the musical equivalent of a Hammer Horror monster with their new album, ‘Nebulae’. Hideously intriguing, this album which hits stores on the 30th of this month is a testament to the bands creative freedom in that it refuses to be indefinitely pigeonholed within any one genre. Starting off as traditional progressive rock, ‘Nebulae’ shape shifts beguilingly into many forms, including completely acoustic fare with a Latin twist.

Atmospheric and enrapturing at once, ‘Nebulae’ is a representation of the band’s interest in the gothic, conveying meaningful message within dark arrangements that are both haunting and alluring. ‘Nebulae’ is alternative progressive rock in all its glory as it marries a complication of musical influences and compositional structures to create an album that is articulately original. Expect driving drums and guitars; expect amazing solo play but what sneaks up on you is the soulfulness introduced into ‘Nebulae’ courtesy of some bluesy pianos and ambient swelling strings.

The juxtaposition of Ana Batista’s angelic, choir girl-like tone and the eerie, harsh decay of the music makes the Nebulae both melodious without losing the old school gravitas of traditional heavy metal. Even those who turn their noses up at the genre will appreciate how tuneful ‘Nebulae’ is whilst the purists can rest assured that the prototypical serrated edge remains. It’s not often that the musicianship of a rock album is subordinated by the vocal ability of a lead singer but Heylel have realised that Batista is their strongest weapon and unleash her to great effect.

‘Nebulae’ isn’t focussed on being trendy for mass marketing purposes. There’s sincerity, intelligence and emotion in each note and every word sung. Judge this particular “book” by its cover; this album is a magnetic galactic artwork of the highest calibre, constructed by a band from different artistic backgrounds with an anthology of novellas to convey.