Triumph And Revenge
posted on 8/2007 By:
It certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see any of the 2007 efforts from Nile, Behemoth, Immolation, Mithras or Malevolent Creation hit death metal enthusiasts’ top-ten lists at year-end, but I’m here to make a case for three relatively obscure releases from death metal bands I believe are worthy of any genre devotee’s immediate attention: Necros Christos’ Triune Impurity Rights (which I reviewed here in May), Deathevokation’s masterful debut, The Chalice of Ages (imagine a slightly slower, heavier version of The Karelian Isthmus), and this particular hulking monster of a record, courtesy of New Jersey’s dyad of vìkingr’s, Helcaraxë (Helcar-AK-say: from Tolkien’s The Silmarillion).
Quite simply put, Triumph and Revenge is an essential Viking death metal record. It’s utterly barbarous, pummeling, and splinters bone with all the deftness and cruelty of Erik Thorvaldsson’s swinging warhammer. In terms of where it should stand within the rest of your Viking metal arsenal, I’d say you should drink with Turisas, travel with Moonsorrow, relax with Tyr, prepare for battle with Amon Amarth, and accompany the savory task of exhaustively obliterating your rivals’ skulls with the mighty Helcaraxë.
As is the case with the above-mentioned Necros Christos and Deathevokation, the core of this troupe’s brand of death metal is infused with the classic sound laid forth from the forefathers of the genre. Proper fealty is paid to progenitors such as Unleashed when the riffs are fat and rumble & pummel with the weight of a battering ram: “Revenge”, “Nidhogg”, the kingly “Litany of the False God” (one of the heaviest tunes I’ve heard this year), “The Dread Helm” and closer “Vision Quest”, but there are also moments aplenty when the barrage is much faster and the music rips with a more vicious, razor-biting edge: “The Hammersmith”, “Gloomweaver”, “Chimera” and “Jormungand”, for example: all callous gutters.
The album’s savagery is also most potent when swallowed whole, as eleven of the sixteen tunes clock in at less than 3-minutes (including three softer atmospheric instrumentals), but the undisputed epicenter is focused on the 10-minute eleventh cut, “Mjolnir”. The tune starts slowly and doomily, like a lumbering hill giant, but it eventually swirls in a wealth of tempo changes and oodles of yet another element which only further adds to the scrumptiousness of this already delectable treat: some surprisingly melodic, epic guitar lickin’. Truly the sort of ballsy tune that’s bound to leave heathens everywhere glutted with a teeth-gnashing berzerker rage.
Another jewel worth mentioning is the absolutely sick bass guitar tone belched forth by the duo’s sole instrumentalist, B. Henderson. This guy splays a veritable jackknife of talents behind each and every instrument on Triumph and Revenge, but his fluttering bass play sounds almost as if he’s molesting the strings with a bloody hand drill throughout the bulk of these tunes, bringing to mind the wicked talents of Macabre’s own Nefarious just for comparison’s sake (incidentally, the band has apparently recruited a bass player for future endeavors…hopefully the guy will flash a similar expertise as Mr. Henderson). Remaining member J. Traynor also does a helluva job bellowing like a barrel-chested warlord throughout the record, so any worries of an ill-fitting vocalist can be dashed to the rocks as well.
As is the case with any record that has the potential of hitting my year-end top-ten, I could easily spend another page rambling about the many strengths of this exceptional debut. Suffice to say, any fan of brutal pagan death metal needs to buy Triumph and Revenge…period. And at a mere $6.66 directly from the band’s website, it’ll definitely be one of the smartest purchases you’ll make this year. Hell, even the disc’s spiffy packaging is well above what you’d get from most major labels, so do as Fjölnir bids ye and give this young band your support, they definitely deserve it. Highly impressive and unquestionably recommended.
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