Something I wrote last week didn't sit right with me:
RS3 later went on to start (or maybe join?) the group Hellven
I knew that couldn't be correct. A small amount of research led me to this interview with Xavier Dang, the founder of Hellven. That gave me enough information to start digging in the Internet Archive. The Hellven v5 homepage helpfully links to a forum post that explains the timeline and history of Hellven. Quote from that forum post:
hellven was founded in 1998 by Xavier Dang a.k.a. "mv" (previously melvyl). When it started, hellven was a music group of aspiring/hobbyist musician pals from various places around the globe aiming to release their tracked music of any style for free on the net.
Hellven went through a series of versions, each with a corresponding time period. 1.x spanned 1998-1999, 2.x 1999-2000, then 3.x and 4.0 lasted from 2000 to 2003. The final revision appears to have been 5.0; I don't know if any music was released during this time.
The files.scene.org archive appears to have the Hellven v3 and v4 releases, specifically the Urbanism musicdisk and the 001-099 single releases. The archived Hellven v4 webpage is useful for figuring out the details of the various releases.
So now I know: RS3 did not "start" Hellven. He joined during the Hellven 2 period.
This journey inspired me to download the Hellven mod releases available on scene.org and render the ones I liked out to flac. There's a lot of good stuff! Melvyl's tracks, particularly hv001 Disfigured and hv032 Someone EP are great. hv041 Odyssey by Funkymuskrat is a nice surprise; that's an artist I'll have to look out for. And of course RS3's tracks, my favorites of which are hv024 Phases of Identity EP and hv039 Among the Fallen.
There's more Hellven for me to discover: I haven't found any v1 or v2 releases, and I've spent no time listening to the (128kbps, 160kbps...) mp3 releases on scene.org. But this seems like a good start.