Karisma / Dark Essence Records
Following a similar path as the fellow Viking obsessed countrymates Enslaved, Helheim have delivered an album of beauty and darkness with their latest opus. Progressive elements seep into the framework of the tracks like starlight drifting down from the cold nightsky. Asgard's Fall Part 1 opens the album with heavy pagan riffs and gravelly black metal rasps which are colored blue by mournful solos and dreamy clean guitars. They lend an airy and nocturnal feel to the track while the main riffs keep the song grounded, like mountains scraping the clouds. The use of thundering kettle drums and deep horns adds a triumphant tone to the song. Asgards Fall Interlude is an emotional use of acoustic and clean guitar with bluesy accents which leads into upwards movement as Part 2 begins. Grim vocals grab hold as spires of heavenward guitars sweep through the valleys. Choirs of females voices and pompous synth add majesty to an already majestic track. Tribal drums and mouth harp pull the listener back towards heathen Norway's unspoiled past on Helheim Part 7. Dualitet Og Ulver is hellish and cold black metal, though deep wells of melody bubble to the surface as the song gallops like a pack of wolves, cold and hungry, across the frozen tundra. The final track is a re-recording of a song from the Blod & Ild album, Jernskogen. It's more primal urgency and heavier guitar orientation reveal its age, but it fits well up against the previous song. Asgards Fall is a moving piece of epic Viking metal, filled with visions of the cold northern landscapes in which it was created. And to me it is quite possibly Helheim's best work to date.