Helheim - Åsgards Fall
Dark Essence Records
Viking/Black Metal
6 songs (33:31)
Release year: 2010
Helheim, Dark Essence Records
Reviewed by Thomas

I’m not black metal’s most avid fan. However, like everyone else I find a slight fascination for the genre, something appeals to me through dark music, haunted lyrics and the evil yet soulful black. It touches my inner darkness, sides I wasn’t quite aware of being there. My biggest gripe with black metal is often the lack of melody, but some bands combine the primitive, blackened rawness with hints and touches of melody that makes them all the more interesting. My background and ever evolving love for the more progressive side of metal and music and general may be the reason for this preference, which has caused me to grow fond of local bands. Oh well, they’re kind of internationalized now, but still local. To me at least. Enslaved’s roots in the western part of Norway goes deep, and the same could be said about Taake, Burzum, Immortal and so on.

No matter how well they do however, Helheim has always stayed in the shadows, a place they might thrive and might be the cause for their solid, focused progression. Their early efforts oozed rawness, The Journeys and Experiences of Death saw rays of melody break through, and Kaoskult, well Kaoskult is a piece of great, apprehensible vikingized black metal that is as powerful as it is unholy. They’ve been compared to Enslaved time and time again, a justified comparison might I add, but instead of going experimental and completely progressive, Helheim kept their primitive rawness and aggression and developed from there although Kaoskult experimented more than earlier. Which brings me to this, Åsgards Fall, the fall of Aasgard, where one of the oldest bands in Viking metal nods to their past and gazes to the future.

Enter Åsgards Fall Part I, shifting like the wind through slow clean parts and tremolo riffs, with V'gandr rasping, preaching Norse mythology, mighty, powerful and strangely virtuous and even doomy in places. After a brief interlude, Part II is up, an opus, crushing like a demonic war-hammer. The essence is all black metal as it slowly bashes its way through a shapeshifting soundscape topped by a fantastic vocal performance. There are clean vocals here, deep, evil clean vocals that will send shivers down your spine. Unlike Enslaved who focus more on the beauty of melodies, Helheim makes them sound malevolent and filled with violence. The production is overwhelming; it’s polished yet aggressive and compelling at the same time. The atmosphere created by the opening trio is simply afflicting.

This relatively long EP closes on a harsher note. The single for their following album, Dualitet og Ulver is fast-paced and featuring Hoest from Taake they rip you open as they tell you the story of light and darkness. How one can’t exist without the other and victorious they prevail, leaving you in filth. Previously released Jernskogen ends it gloriously and really leaves me with a slight feeling of speechlessness.

This is so fucking good, why are these guys constantly overlooked? They play pure, mighty, enchanting black/Viking metal that so few are doing nowadays. Their roots run deep, their hearts are pure black iron, march with them and plunder souls. Valhalla awaits.

Killing Songs :
Åsgards Fall Part I and II, Dualitet og Ulver, Jernskogen
Thomas quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Helheim that we have reviewed:
Helheim - Kaoskult reviewed by Thomas and quoted 91 / 100
Helheim - The Journeys and the Experiences of Death reviewed by Thomas and quoted 89 / 100
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