When the young, petite sisters of death-metal band Hellen, Mindy and Desiree Duponte, first caught our attention two years ago, we were impressed with their raging brand of guttural metal and psycho-operatic vocals. But before the sisters could fully realize their potential as Hellen, Desiree passed away suddenly in April 2007. Mindy took a hiatus, unsure whether she would even continue playing. Ultimately, she decided to continue with Hellen, landing new bandmate Corrie Zazzera (former guitarist for Phoenix punk band The Dames), who found Duponte on MySpace and auditioned at her house.
The result is an even heavier, more full-sounding Hellen than ever before. The live track "OMG," on the band's MySpace page, showcases the burlier sound, and the unfinished demos ("Falling Asleep" and "Pow") contain some impressive vocal harmony by Zazzera and Duponte, whose lead vocal/fierce drumming combination is an anomaly. They've got a handful of new songs and started recording their first album in the spring. In between recording, they've opened gigs for national acts like Otep and played other shows on the West Coast, proving you just can't keep a good metal band down.