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Helheim – Rignir

by Erika Kuenstler at 08 April 2019, 2:03 PM

Never ones to stay quiet for very long, the Norwegian band HELHEIM are back this year with their new full-length album “Rignir”, due for release at the end of April. Vinyl collectors are twice lucky: in addition to the beautiful and soulful music, the clear blue vinyl looks stunning too. Very different from its “landawarijaR”, “Rignir” is probably the most melodious of HELHEIM’s albums to date, with far less of the usual Black Metal bite, and more of the exploration of different sonic tapestries seen more and more in their last couple of releases.

Starting off with the eponymous and multifaceted “Rignir”, HELHEIM immediately carry on deeper into their exploration of their Progressive side. The upbeat, atmospheric song gradually blossoms, slowly weaving in a very subtle melancholic melody into the song, whilst a guitar solo adds layers of emotion. This paves the way for the tempestuous “Kaldr”, which feels all the more hard-hitting after the restrain and fragile beauty of “Rignir”. Here, Black Metal influences of the band are far more in the foreground. Despite this, “Kaldr” goes beyond a mere standard Black Metal song, blending in a slew of other influences, leading to a song that is powerful yet ponderous, maelstrom-like yet melodious, and searing yet soothing. “Hagl” on the other hand has a wonderful ebb and flow feel to it, that conjures up daydreams of lulling ocean waves. In contrast to this, “Snjóva” seemed to be a little nondescript, lacking both the power and the beauty of the songs that came before, although this was somewhat saved by the interesting twist half-way through. “Ísuð”, and to some degree “Vindarblástr”, carry on in this slower and more downbeat vein, even blending in a little Shoegaze at certain points. In contrast to this, “Stormviðri” sees the return of the beautiful yet fragile melodies, with a slow tempo that takes its time to fully explore all aspects of the song, from dreamlike sections to harsher, and even searing parts. However, HELHEIM clearly believe in saving the best for last, with “Vetrarmegin” being a punchy song that is built on the backbone of a swaying melody. Some slightly experimental sections towards the end keep the song fresh until the very end.

One of the things I loved most about “Rignir” is how many hidden facets the album has; it seems you discover some new side of the music each time you listen to it. This album certainly sees HELHEIM at their most melodious and progressive yet; whether or not that’s to your liking will be personal preference. But even if you don’t like the album from the get-go, it might be worth giving it a second chance. This is more of an album that grows on you as you listen to it, rather than being mind-blowing from the very first spin. And if you did enjoy the album, be sure to catch them on their upcoming European tour with VULTURE INDUSTRIES and MADDER MORTEM.

Production: 8
Song-writing: 7
Memorability: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Rignir
2. Kaldr
3. Hagl
4. Snjóva
5. Ísuð
6. Vindarblástr
7. Stormviðri
8. Vetrarmegin
V'gandr - Bass, Vocals
Hrymr - Drums
H'grimnir - Vocals, Guitars (rhythm)
Reichborn - Guitars (lead)
Record Label: Dark Essence Records


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Edited 28 March 2023

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