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Nothing new here - 65%

davidian998, June 17th, 2006

Helrunar is a German band and plays black metal, nothing more, nothing less. ‘Frostnacht’ consists of ten fairly standard black metal tracks, a couple of acoustic pieces and an intro. The harsh, raspy vocals are sung in German and sound good and convincing. At times the harsh vocals are accompanied by spoken ones. The production quality is decent and the guitar playing and drumming come across powerful and clearly.

The main problem I have with this album is that songs like ‘Frostnacht’, ‘Unten und im Norden’, ‘…Bis die Seele…’ and ‘Alter Als das Kreuz’ sound good, grim, professionally recorded and display everything you would expect from a black metal band but there is absolutely nothing new here. Everything that is played has been done before by the Norwegian black metal scene and therefore the record sounds a bit rehashed as a whole. There are no distinct original qualities to be found within this album, nothing that would give Helrunar a unique claim to fame and an identity of their own within the already vast and ever-growing catalogue of black metal bands.

Don’t get me wrong because on the positive side of things, the album certainly isn’t a ridiculously bad or a terrible one. The acoustic parts in between the black metal onslaught in tracks like ‘Nachtfrost’ (complete with that good old record player effect layered across the track), ‘Neun Nachte’ and in the final track, ‘Minis Brunnr (Gratr Unnor)’ (which is also the best track on the cd in my opinion) are done nicely and add a lot to the album’s already bleak atmosphere.

Helrunar’s ‘Frostnacht’ would make a relatively worthy addition to a true black metal fan’s collection but people looking for a little more depth or a band playing something original need not bother with this album. Helrunar would be a lot more interesting if they evolved a bit over their next few albums and found an identity of their own.

Originally written for http://www.gothtronic.com