What the hell… is going on in Helheim? Even after countless descents into the realm of the cruel goddess, the chronicler can do little more than writing down his stammering about the unusual spectacle that presents itself to him on “Åsgards Fall”. On their new mini album the Norwegians do not take half-measures, but they go into deep with several guest musicians and with a challenging plan – to tell an epic tale in two songs (and two transitions) and thus broadening the current sound spectrum of the band is not child’s play, although since the memorable gig in a kindergarten the Norwegians have experiences in that as well. Within the first roundabout 25 minutes HELHEIM expect quite a lot of their listeners: metal veterans will be rather delighted than annoyed because the band combines tradition and new elements with passion, despite the experiements and many melodies it doesn’t wimp out, it even raises a splendid monument for Bathory with the uncommon instrumentation of timpani and horns. Simply “epic” bass player and vocalist V’gandr describes his music in the interview and brings it so well to the point. Sure, Helheim (and guests) stand also in the year 2010 first of all for solid metal, but also for the calm before the storm, for atmospheric arrangements, beautiful multi-voice singing and drama beyond conventional metal schemes. “Åsgards Fall” thus turns out to be an extremely atmospheric soundtrack, which stands basically on its own feet. The two following, by no means tame songs “Dualitet Og Ulver” and the remake of “Jernskogen” are thus a small bonus which can’t keep the superb level of the main compositions. Nevertheless HELHEIM succeeded in creating more than just a surprise – “Åsgards Fall” sets new standards.
Even for a dedicated listener of metal music “Åsgards Fall” has become quite a surprise because it shows HELHEIM with many facets and in only 33 minutes you can travel through various moods and atmospheres. Was it your original intention with this mini album to surprise the listener and to take him on some kind of journey?
Definitely, that was the reason for us to do a mini album which should represent something different from us than a full length album. We had a two song concept about the fall and resurrection of Åsgard and we felt that those songs didn’t fit the album that will be published in January. They are even more melodic than anything we have done before and on “Åsgards Fall” we take a longer journey into the songs than we usually take. Moreover we have a lot of guests on the recording and a strong Bathory vibe, especially on “Åsgards Fall Part 2” which is a tribute to Bathory. We’ve always been inspired by Bathory and it was about time to do something like this for real.
There are many bands trying, but only few who achieve to create such a strong atmosphere…
When H’grimnir and I were writing those songs we weren’t deliberately focusing on copying Bathory, but we wanted to capture an epic pagan feeling with Bathory as an inspiration. So we didn’t want to copy Bathory, but try to see how we interprete Bathory within the HELHEIM style of music. I think this is why it sounds authentic and honest. We like to surprise people from time to time and we do what feels right for us.
Your mini album gave me that typical music journalism sickness. Since some day small smoke clouds leave my head while I ask myself what authentic style description I could use for your music. Psychedelic traditional Viking metal sounds a bit too long, doesn’t it?
I’m really bad at judging my own music and I don’t know ho I should do it. This mini album is by far the worst I’ve ever done – “worst” not in the sense of bad, but of mentally challenging. It was quite a big exercise and I feel worn out afterwards. This mini album required so much thinking and ideas which forced us out of our usual standards, which made us go out and explore. Also the guest appearances were mind-blowing in a way, because we realized what we can actually do with HELHEIM. For me it’s epic music, but I have no other way of describing it. For me it’s just a stream of moods.
The review and the whole interview have been published in the 69th issue of Legacy Magazine.
Release: Fall 2010
Label: Dark Essence Records
Avantgenre: A Bravehearted Tribute To Bathory
Official site: http://www.helheim.com
Review online since: 21.02.2011 / 12:41:55
01 – Asgards Fall 1
02 – Asgards Fall Interlude
03 – Asgards Fall 2
04 – Helheim Part 7
05 – Dualitet Og Ulver
06 – Jernskogen (Remake)