posted on 7/2010 By:
So I’ll let you immature juvenile types out there have a moment to get over this German band's name….Hellfahrt (stop giggling at the back) – which loosely means ‘journey into hell’.
Some of you might recognize the band name from the recent review of Thulcandra’s Fallen Angel’s Dominion -- the Helfahrt brothers Ludwig (Sebastien and Tobias) helped out on that album. (Obscura’s/Thulcandra’s Stephen Kummerer has served in Helfahrt also). But Helfahrt is the brothers’ primary band, with Drifa being their third effort of blackened folk/Viking metal, apparently a transformation from the band's early sound where they were a more acoustic/Prophecy Productions-styled band. Either way, having listened to Thulcandra’s Fallen Angel’s Dominion and this album, it’s apparent that Drifa is the superior effort in every way.
Though not helping their cause by opening with the track “Wind” (I said stop giggling now!), Drifa, is actually a very, very solid album. It conjures up a stern, but melodic and Teutonic folk metal visage that’s not too flutey or happy but retains a sense of epic Viking/folk sensibilities within a black metal template. Fans of Drautran, Geist, Windir, latter Thyrfing, Sons of Northern Darkness-era Immortal should be right at home.
With lengthier songs and some interludes, the album's 52-minute run-time is fluid and enjoyable and tells you that it’s a folk metal album without being too overt. There’s some delicate acoustic/folk segues in songs (“Wenn Kalte Warmt”, “Der Zeit Enstelldt”, “Zu Asche”) and between songs (“Abschied” and “Staub”) that remind you its folk music, but if you are looking for in-your-face, full-on folk cheese and cantering bouncy folk metal, you’d be best served going with the new Equilibrium album. Instead, Helfahrt are a more riff-based, typically stoic, Germanic black metal band, though with a more varied sound. There’s plenty of Norwegian-styled tremolo blast beats (“Drudnhax”, “Auf Dem Strome”), some slick mid-paced marches (“Drifa & Snior” – which reminded me of the chorus to Enslaved’s “Isa”). And all of it is free from any sort of clean ‘wocals’ or bouncing, peppy beer-hall moments. And it all has a glistening, shrill guitar tone and a deep resonant rhythm section.
Though a new act to me, and lacking that certain great track or moment on Drifa, Helfahrt looks to be a very solid, respectable but overlooked act in the pagan/folk black metal scene, and fans of the genre should pick up Drifa and hope to change the overlooked part.
OK, now you can snicker.
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