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A journey on the "Oaken Dragons" - 95%

Terrible_Winter, March 30th, 2008

I had never heard from Helheim before this release and when I bought it I had serious doubts concerning this album, since I was encouraged to buy it after reading a review in the Metal Hammer mag. However those who listen to this record will not be disappointed in any way.

To begin with, let us take a look at the title: “The journeys and experiences of death”. This title highly suggests that the songs recorded will deal with matters concerning Death and thoughts surrounding this affair. If death per se is not a new concept within metal music, this is a refreshing touch for a band which allows it’s music to be classified within the viking/black genre, where lyrics concerning incarnate Viking battles and lyrics which describe how “bad” religion is and how cool the devil can be are a plague more annoying than the ones written in the old testament. Helheim explore this phenomenon (death) and describe some funeral rites with very interesting lyrics.

As for the music this one is a pretty fucking solid release. Heavy riffs provide the heaviness every fan seeks for. Furthermore every song manages to create and develop an atmosphere of its own; this allows the listener to really dive into this band’s sound.
Each one of the songs has a clearly defined structure, yet they are neither boring nor repetitive. The drumming can be defined as flawless, it is heavy and rhythmical.

The ultimate highlight from this album is “Oaken Dragons” which is by far the most elaborated song in this release. It is the song with the slowest tempo and is highly atmospheric, which enforces the lyrical theme and brings the story told to life. Furthermore the vocals in that song are very varied throughout the entire piece and add that special shit to the song.