Release DetailsLABEL Lupus Lounge
RELEASED ON 10/24/2005
posted on 2/2006 By:
I’ve been struggling with this particular band for some time now. I can’t really place my finger on it, but there’s something about this band that eludes me. Helrunar doesn’t derivate much from the normal German take on Norwegian black metal, but there seems to be a demonic beast lurking beneath the surface of this album that never really manifests itself on Frostnacht. All in all, this is a straightforward black metal album that most any fan of the genre be it symphonic or traditional will be able to enjoy the oddly intriguing pagan like spirit of these Germans.
The songwriting pays adequate attention to variety and dynamic contrasts, staying interesting throughout songs while maintaining a certain level of refreshing distinction between each of the songs. Helrunar takes the basic Norwegian black metal format laid out by bands like Mayhem and Dissection, yet add their own twists to the music, saving Frostnacht from sounding like just another carbon copy throw away black metal band. Helrunar has a rollicking abandon for traditionalism spliced with strongly harmonic overtones over their worshiping of the original black metal aesthetic. Instead of annoying synthesizers or ridiculous keyboards, Helrunar opts for flowing acoustic guitar passages which add an interesting depth to the album, but not enough to pull them out of the average waters they tend to tread so deeply in. The drums are straightforward and reserved, but blast when the occasion is called for. Usually though, the music stays at a midpaced drive that gets the job done but never reaches high levels of intensity. The music doesn’t get pushed to extreme tempos by any means, but there’s plenty of variety and tempo changes to be found within Frostnacht. The vocals are expertly snarled in the most acceptable of black metal fashions,evil and constantly wrathful. But, despite their being not too much to brag our complain about, the most notable aspect of Helrunar is the mature musicianship of the guitars. They weave through aggressive traditionalism to doomier midpaced sections to all out harmonic, droning melancholy like the well done songs “Frostnacht” and “Der Trank des Gehängten” without the slightest hesitation or slip. The guitars save this album from relative obscurity with a surprisingly skillful blend of various styles offset by interesting passages that actual expand upon what has already been done without coming off as trite.
There’s a lot of good things going on beneath the surface of this album as Frostnacht is nowhere near a trend album of whatever is popular in today’s black metal scene. Helrunar plays solid, well thought out and structured introspective black metal that while nowhere near revolutionary or jaw dropping, is a solid release that tromps through plenty of black metal territory with enough skill and clout to constitute a good album that manages not to copy directly from any of its predecessors. Given some refining and the experience that comes with time, I’m sure these Germans will do nothing but improve upon the style they’ve already carved out for themselves. The talent is there for excellence, but it hasn't yet been realized.
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