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Helheim - Kaoskult - 100%

EuanMalice, August 6th, 2009

Norway’s Helheim have always made very individual music. Although they essentially play a viking/black metal style, there is much more substance to them that exceeds the boundaries of genres.

Kaoskult is not as fast paced as some of their previous releases. But this is certainly not a bad thing. The album opens with Det Norrone Alter which is mid-paced, has heavy yet atmospheric guitars. The typical Helheim vocals are here, raw, heavy and not over-produced. Just the way they should be. Also of not, is the return of Lindheim on the synth, this also gives the album another dimension. The synth arrangements add a small degree of melody to the album behind the heavy guitars and raw vocals.

Northern Forces, the second track and possibly the best on the album, contains an absolutely brilliant riff and also shows how you don’t need a blast-beat to make a song great. Om Tilblivelsen Fra Gapende Tomhet, is one of the quicker tracks on the ablum, and half way through the song has another great riff courtesy of H'grimnir who does the bulk of the song-writing on this album.

Another thing that needs commenting on is Hrymr’s drumming on this release. He has to be one of Norway’s best drummers, but one of the most underrated. He utilizes techniques that aren’t your average blast beat or fill. This gives the drumming its own identity within the album, rather than just being a part of the rhythm section. It really adds to the album. Song like Northern Forces and Altered Through Ages, Constant In Time are prime examples of this. Altered Through Ages, penned by V'gandr has to be one of the best songs of the album, with some memorable atmospherics and riffs along with the raw vocals, it is pure Helheim and very indicative of what Kaoskult is all about.

As for the production, it is very clear but still retains the raw elements that are necessary for a metal album. Kaoskult is certainly a very original and distinctive album. Helheim have long been overlooked and underrated as a band, but this has not deterred them in creating some of the best and most individual extreme metal out there. In an time where many albums, songs and production is all very similar Helheim stand out, above the rest, refusing to get tied down to a particular style of music.

The Viking Get Dreamy - 75%

Fulvio_Ermete, August 22nd, 2008

They had always astonished us for their personality, cleverness and technical awareness, and they continue astonishing us with this “Kaoskult”, album that changes direction though without losing a single point of their big personality.

The latest album of the Norwegian band, indeed, decides to develop the most ethereal and charming side of their sound, leaving apart the performing violence and the cold approach of the two previous albums. In this sense we can explain the return of Lindheim's keys, fundamental in creating some atmosphere thick carpets that, anyway, never put the traditional instruments of the genre on background .

The main task to weave sophisticated dreamy scores is entrusted to the guitar, that often expresses in clear arpeggios that perfectly merge with the harsh guitar distortion. Just in one case, “Om Tilblivelsen av Gapende Tomhet”, Helheim remember us what their destructive potentialities with the blast beat are like, and in other cases (“Northern Forces”, one of the very few tracks in English) they adopt square rhythms that recall a certain strong heavy epic, but the general leit motiv of the album is that of a long trip within the dream of an ancestral creature. To listen with the closed eyes.

Originally written for Silent Scream