Despite being in their 25th year, Helheim have rarely looked more vital, this latest opus arriving barely a year after raunijaR was released to much acclaim. Those new to the band should imagine Enslaved’s 70s/prog rock-tinged BM crossed with a Taake-ish folk/black/rock’n’roll edge and the doomy and dramatic Viking metal of Hades Almighty – a distinctly Norwegian concoction.
Helheim followers will notice that for the first time there is no self-titled ‘experimental’ track, and there are fewer surprises. Perhaps logically, given the short time between the two records, landawarijaR proves a natural follow-up to its predecessor. The tasteful use of horn and timpani have been retained – as have the guest vocal talents of Pehr Skjoldhammer (Alfahanne) – but the songs represent a more subtle and considered take on the current Helheim template.
Superb, emotive songwriting sees accessibility combined with real depth, the tracks providing an impressive degree of dynamics, vocal variety and musical nuances within their lengthy running times. Recommended.