HELHEIM – WoduridaR
Trying to contain my excitement whenever a new LP by Norwegian Viking metal stalwarts Helheim looms on the horizon is a futile exercise. I have been a huge fan of the group for many years now and what blows my mind every darn time they release an album is that they seem to get better with age. How can you not love something like that?! I am thrilled to report that they truly excel here and that their upcoming offering, "WoduridaR", is a passionate and ambitious endeavor with arguably the best and most fitting production to ever grace one of their outputs.
"WoduridaR" is a harsher and more punishing affair than its predecessor but that does not entail that it is any less dynamic or unpredictable than "Rignir". On the contrary. While the compositions are dense and contain multiple layers and textures, they are by no means impenetrable and I would argue that this is the band’s finest hour yet simply because it strikes the perfect balance between accessibility and complexity. The interplay between the members of the quartet is fiery, the progressive nature of Helheim’s song material has rarely been as prominent as it is here, and the dazzling richness of shades and nuances that slither and slide throughout these eight somber tracks is enthralling. There are trance-like repetitions that will chill you to the bone and an endless array of variations capable of making your head spin. If you listen closely to the last segment of closing track "Det Kommer i Bølger", there is a gentle intensity and a strange beauty to it and yet it is feels infinitely dark and ominous too. Intricate details abound but the tunes never lose their focus, and my only minor complaint is that I found roughly a handful of the vocal parts consisting of clean singing to be slightly uneasy on the ear and not fully complimentary of the melodies and riffs shimmering underneath them, but honestly, I am merely nitpicking here and I feel like a tit for doing so.