Karisma/Dark Essence 2008
Helheim is a criminally underrated band from Norway's heathen vastlands. Traveling a similar path to their fellow countrymen Enslaved, Helheim combines icy cold black metal with folkish and experimental instrumentation. Though, they are decidedly darker and less psychedelic than Enslaved. Northern Forces foments a dangerous attitude beginning with an Immortal-esque riffing scheme before calming down and introducing some moody bass work. Dreamy and tribal in its natural beauty Om Smerte og Liv initial starts with some tripped out material a la Ved Beuns Ende before summoning vehement pagan black metal. The subtle keyboards and clean guitar work that begins at the 4 minute mark of the track exhibits their penchant for composing experimental yet mesmerizing journeys into the deep subconscious. The next track, Om Tilblivelsen Fra Gapende Tomhet which is easily the most straightforward song on the album, my ears are blinded by windswept black metal riffs and my body heat is dropped to subzero temperatures. Svart Seid ends the album on a brooding note with grim spoken vocals and glacially starved riffs that give way to some Voivod sounding guitar parts. The clean vocal choirs at the 2:45 mark of Svart Seid is very reminiscent of modern Enslaved work and adds an air of epic beauty to the song. The production on Kaoskult is spot on with the right balance being struck between the treble in the instruments and the guitar thickness. With their sixth full length album Helheim have once again proven they are force to be reckoned with in the Norwegian musical community and hopefully will be lacking for attention anymore. Kaoskult is a sweeping epic journey that captivates my imagination and carries me into unknown landscapes of northern beauty and stark desolation.