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Helgrind – Return To Motherland Award winner

Return To Motherland
by Will Travers at 15 March 2021, 2:52 AM

When one thinks of Cuba… What does one think of? Pagans? Vikings? Metal? Well, today we will tick off all of those, with the introduction of HELGRIND and their forthcoming album, “Return To Motherland”. The artwork is full of occult images, portraying an apparent ongoing ritual.

The opening track, “Lands On Fire”, ominous, foreboding and I hope an insight into what is to come. “Song Of The Runes” really brings the album in in earnest. With harrowing and ritualistic vocals, before the inevitable drop, blast beats, multi layered guitar tracking and Ernesto’s piercing screams that cut straight through the fascinating melodies and harmonies, the changes of pace and intensity really paints a beautiful picture throughout. There is a strange relationship between the aggressive and stereotypical growls and the cleaner vocals, to the point where it’s almost a switch between Dani Filth and something much more choral, it is utterly enchanting! Nowhere is it more prevalent than in “Rusalka” and it is something that I found somewhat haunting.

For those not in the know, this was myself too before a quick google, “Vainamoinen” is a Finnish demi god and hero from folklore. Often seen as a wise old man with a magical singing voice. The vocals within this track are certainly the focal point of the song, but that’s not to take anything away from the other members, it really is a culmination of all members coming together and producing a fantastic performance. “Return To Motherland” again seems to have a bit of a chanting vocal line that keeps in with the ritual styles that seem to be surrounding the album.

“Uppsala” breaks up the album before the final two tracks, and what a way to see out the album they both are. They really bring through all of the elements that has made this a strong album and round it out whilst keeping true to themselves. “Blota” is breathless, intense and full of the electrical energy that fuels myself, it really ramped things up perfectly before “Ultima Thule” which was a steadier display, but it had more of the intricacies and delicacies that adds my favourite thing to music. Depth, it is what takes an album from being OK, to being great. Have a listen and see if you agree.

Overall, this was a strong release, there is a lot to be proud of for HELGRIND, and I am sure that they will continue to grow in the future. There were a few parts where things felt a little disjointed, almost individuals trying to shine alone than everyone pulling in the same direction together. But that doesn’t really detract that much from the standard of this album, bravo all involved.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Lands On Fire
2. Song Of The Runes
3. Rusalka
4. Mighty Fallen One
5. Vainamoinen
6. Return To Motherland
7. Last Pagan Resistance
8. Uppsala
9. Blota
10. Ultima Thule
Ernesto Riol Betancourt – Vocals
Pablo Robbio Borrego – Guitar/Vocals
Jordy Fuentes Serrano - Guitar
Daniel Lopez Lameiro – Bass/Vocals
Carlos E. Cepero Valdes – Drums
Record Label: Black Spark Records


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Edited 07 June 2023

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