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Helheim - WoduridaR Award winner

by Leanne "Metal Maiden" Evans at 09 January 2022, 7:54 PM

Norwegian Viking Metal legends HELHEIM return with their long-awaited eleventh full-length, “WoduridaR”. Capturing a bruising blend of harsh, extreme sounds akin to their earlier work, merged with mellifluous melodious aspects of their former release, HELHEIM have produced an imperious and aurally commanding collection of nine seismic cuts that root themselves deep into your core, intertwined amongst perfectly timed brooding and atmospheric moments.

“WoduridaR” – an Old Norse word that translates to “the wild rider” – is certainly a rambunctious release, with warm familiarity of highlights of HELHEIM’s thirty-year career hand-selected and carefully crafted into one gargantuan full-length of brilliance. Whilst the influence of ENSLAVED and BATHORY is inescapable, conflicting soundscapes are merged to create a very definitive and unique blend that only HELHEIM can execute so perfectly. From nuances of the extreme in “Vilje av stål”, a bloody body blow to the soul with hulking throaty vocals mixed within clean and polished vocal execution, to the boisterous, yet wrenching, title-track, “WoduridaR”, this Viking quartet simply pound and pummel, whilst retaining a vulnerability in all their tracks’ harshness.

This is a Black Metal Viking journey like no other, cleverly manifesting magnificent layers of depth through sound, without ostentation, whilst simultaneously striking and imposing as much as Thor’s hammer itself. The sumptuous sonics of “Ni s soli sot” bridge the album, providing a quiet moment to reflect and build to the soft, lilting tones of “Litil vis madr”, which unnerve and crescendo to something far more rage-fuelled, whilst the wholly visceral “Tankesmed” commandeers with searing, brutish tone from the get-go and a malevolent minor riff perfectly backbones this dark delight. HELHEIM perfect their vision for ambience and atmosphere ingeniously utilising rhythmic temporal switches, an infusion of syrupy keys and dark guitars and bass to create a tenebrosity about their craft that lurks. The full-length provides emotive moments, too, with soft passages to cleanse the soul in sumptuous Black Metal transcendence, offering a melancholic edge as seen in what feels like a brotherhood collective in “Det kommer i bølger”, a graceful bounty of wrenching, polished vocals and sombre tones, filled with the heartsore and hopeful. Finalising the album is a surprising, but stunning, cover of RICHARD MARX’s “Hazard”. There’s a gothic appeal that comes with this, all down-tuned, sultry and very sexy, a complete contrast to the rest of the album (perhaps why it’s only on vinyl and digital format) bookending HELHEIM’s release wonderfully.

Balance is the defining aspect of “WoduridaR”, with HELHEIM executing each component of the album perfectly. The keys don’t overwhelm, they enhance. The split clean to harsh vocal delivery is balanced, the release is organic with substance, with the entire full-length enshrouded in beautifully sullen darkness and atmospheric washes of waves of sound from the rhythm section that pound at the Viking longboat that is HELHEIM. Put simply, “WoduridaR” is a powerfully stunning masterpiece and a gnarly adventure that you don’t want to miss.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Vilje av stål
2. Forrang for fiender
3. WoduridaR
4. Åndsfilosofen
5. Ni s soli sot
6. Litil vis madr
7. Tankesmed
8. Det kommer i bølger
9. Hazard (vinyl/digital only)
V’gandr – Vocals, Bass
H’grimnir – Vocals, Guitars
Reichborn – Guitars
Hrymr – Drums, Keyboards, Programming
Record Label: Dark Essence Records


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