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Folk Metal. USA Style. - 80%

Immortally_Insane, October 21st, 2012

Few other genres of music have the ability to make me swing a pint of beer back and forth like folk metal. The energy, tone, melodies, and lyrics do nothing but put me in a happy place that’s hard to put into words. I’m always pleased to find new folk metal bands, and to find one here in the United States is even better. Helsótt is a metal band out of California. They call themselves a blend of American thrash/death metal and pagan metal, and I’d say they’re pretty spot on. They formed in 2010, and have released a three-track E.P “Fólkvangr” which is what I received in the mail from the band, and it is nothing short of impressive music, I just wish I had more of it to listen to!

“Fólkvangr”, the title track, opens the EP up with a solid high energy folk metal track. They have managed to blend very different elements of thrash, death metal, and folk metal into a diverse yet solid metal tune. The beginning riff sets the mood quite well with an enjoyable swing, but the song quickly escalates into harsh vocals with perfectly articulated keyboard elements, hard-hitting drums, and a prominent bass line. Kneel before the Goddess Freya! What a killer tune.

Continuing on, “Vandals Divide” creeps in slowly with a beautiful intro, complete with soothing female vocals and acoustic guitar, and then snaps into the sound the band has become known for. High energy fucking metal. This song is a slower paced song than the other two but still manages to hit just as hard. Then comes “Honor Thy Valkyrie” and immediately I know I am in love with this band. Metal and Valkyries – it seems they were made for each other. This song is the fastest and heaviest song on the album and brings in new vocal elements. The majority of the album uses guttural vocal style, but this track offers up a higher pitched harsh scream and male singing. By far, this is my favorite track on the album. Not only does it nail my interests in lyrical content, but there are so many different features in this song. It starts slow, then speeds up and hits you hard, then slows back down while utilizing all four of the members’ vocal styles so seamlessly. The female vocals on this E.P are provided by the keyboard player, Steph, and are quite the contrast to the vocals on the rest of the album, but are very beautiful nonetheless.

All around this is a killer release, and highly recommended for fans of the folk/pagan metal genre, and even you thrashers and death metallers out there. They have some serious potential and I personally can’t wait until I can get my hands on more from this band. Each of the members has a great amount of skill; there is no doubt about it. The guitar riffs and solos are melodic and fast, the bass and drums provide a great heartbeat to the music, the keys add such a nice polished element to such raw music, and the harsh vocals you can really feel in your core. To sum things up, please check the album out and support the band!

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