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On disc: Helheim

Åsgards Fall - Mike Thompson - 9 stars

Åsgards Fall

Åsgards Fall
(Dark Essence - 2010)

I've not heard anything by the Norwegian band Helheim before but I have heard good things so I was looking forward to reviewing this EP. The band plays black / Viking metal which instantly brings comparisons with the likes of Bathory, Borknagar and Enslaved to mind.
Although Helheim does bear similarities to the aforementioned bands, in particular Bathory, the Norwegian quintet have their own style which sets them apart and makes Åsgards Fall a must-listen EP even for the most jaded Viking metal fan. The latter songs on the album are more black metal in their approach and the music in these songs is highly reminiscent of ...Doedskvad-era Taake. This is rather fitting as Hoest is one of the many guest vocalists on this EP!
The musicianship on this album is absolute top drawer stuff. The backing vocals add a sense of epic grandeur to the strong rasp of the lead growls. Thunderous drumming lays the solid foundations from which Helheim invoke the spirits of their ancestors and is one of the real highlights of the album! The guitars drive the music forward with powerful riffs, a crunching bite and some excellent lead breaks. Åsgards Fall interlude is a Floydian instrumental in which the psychedelic sounding guitars captivate you. Even the bass, so often under-used by many bands, is put to good use by Helheim and adds a good punch to the proceedings.
Approximately 34 minutes of high quality Viking black metal is what Helheim give you on this EP and there is not one bad moment. As well as the epic length original tracks the band gives you Dualitet Og Ulver, a song from their upcoming album Heiðenðomr Ok Motgangr and a re-recording of Jernogskogen which was originally featured on the Blod & Ild album. This is a fantastic EP that I can highly recommend to all discerning metal fans!

9 stars

Mike Thompson


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