Rating:
8.0
Helrunar - Sól
7 January 2011


Disc I [Sól I - Der Dorn Im Nebel]
01. Gefrierpunkt
02. Kollapsar
03. Unter Dem Gletscher
04. Nebelspinne
05. Praeludium Eclipsis
06. Tiefer Als Der Tag
07. Nur Fragmente...
08. Ende 1.3

Disc II [Sól II - Zweige Der Erinnerung]
01. Europa Nach Dem Eis
02. Aschevolk
03. Die Mühle
04. Rattenkönig
05. Moorgänger
06. Lichtmess
07. Sól


There was once a time when black metal used to give shrugged-off bands a chance to shine and blossom. There was also a time when people were passionate enough to track down new talents instead of overplaying Norway's classics. And frankly, I don't even recall the last time people took a moment to page through the books of time for fresh and worthy bands. Admittedly, Helrunar, whose sound fell on deaf ears, fits the bill, but they have grown unknown and have been slogging across a lea of darkness ever since they came into being in 2001.

Sól (sun in Icelandic) isn't quite such a masterful bit of work but it wouldn't, nonetheless, tremble if put alongside the top albums of recent years. Having settled into a two-piece formation with Alsvartr playing guitars, bass and drums while Skald Draugir was only content to rasp, the band have surprisingly added another solid album to their collection. A typical black metal album which carries on their warmly received Frostnacht and Baldr ok Íss without taking any risks or challenges. Aside from some occasional shredding and frost-bitten creaks, you won't find anything out of the ordinary here, but you won't miss the fundamental ingredients that define pure black metal either. The two CDs follow the same strategy throughout the entire album with both of the openers sticking to being purely ambient (the second has some scattered guitar passages, though) and escorted by Skald's whispering yarning. Once the prologues end the album plummets into cold-stricken atmosphere generated by loitering doom-ish guitars (with sprinklings of shredding and clean leads here and there) and mild, but proficient drumming that slowly piles up with incongruous, sometimes dull rasps. Ironically, the only "instrument" that is not quite fitting with the music is Skald's vocals and even though they are quite enjoyable compared to the creaks and croaks of many black metal vocalists, they are one of the few reasons that take this album down a peg. "Sól" is maybe the highlight of the album, I think it's where the duo reach their peak, both vocally and musically, with great catchy guitar riffing and distant, yet clever drum display. And despite being quite long (92:38), the album has no fillers or dullness stuck to its backbone and keeps you enchanted throughout the entire listening experience.

All in all, this is an album that, while playing it, makes you believe you had heard something very similar to it before. It's very out there with no remarkable effort to give something original to the audience. Nonetheless, the unalloyed magic of pure black metal found here is unlikely to go unnoticeable by the trained ears.


Band profile: Helrunar
Album: Sól


 


written by Mindheist | 27.08.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Array - 27.08.2011 at 13:56  
Nice to read a review of this album. In addition to the things you mentioned, I like the way how this album doesn't hurry anywhere and grows naturally. Sól tends to bring up the variations and nuances of its material just in the right places at the right time, and if there's a acoustic guitar part that doesn't seem to fit in, that may suddenly fit the album very well after more spins.

I just don't understand why it was released as separate CDs, when in the limited thing they released (and was sold out), it was just one album. It is one album... no reason to divide the two suns.
Mindheist - 27.08.2011 at 19:07  
Written by Array on 27.08.2011 at 13:56

I just don't understand why it was released as separate CDs, when in the limited thing they released (and was sold out), it was just one album. It is one album... no reason to divide the two suns.

You can find the answer to your question here. (3rd question in the interview)
Array - 27.08.2011 at 22:58  
Written by Mindheist on 27.08.2011 at 19:07

Written by Array on 27.08.2011 at 13:56

I just don't understand why it was released as separate CDs, when in the limited thing they released (and was sold out), it was just one album. It is one album... no reason to divide the two suns.

You can find the answer to your question here. (3rd question in the interview)

Thanks for the link, though what I tried to say is that I would have wanted just 1 package with 2 discs
Mindheist - 28.08.2011 at 05:41  
Written by Array on 27.08.2011 at 22:58

Written by Mindheist on 27.08.2011 at 19:07

Written by Array on 27.08.2011 at 13:56

I just don't understand why it was released as separate CDs, when in the limited thing they released (and was sold out), it was just one album. It is one album... no reason to divide the two suns.

You can find the answer to your question here. (3rd question in the interview)

Thanks for the link, though what I tried to say is that I would have wanted just 1 package with 2 discs

Agreed. It would've been much easier that way but I guess what really matters is the content, the rest is just technicality .
Btw, I don't know if you agree with me but this is maybe their finest work so far. Their past deliveries are decent too but with Sol, it seems to me they've finally found their own sound that seperates them from the rest and it's just a matter of time before they reach the crest of the black metal wave. If only they had many albums to defend their legacy..
Array - 28.08.2011 at 15:58  
Written by Mindheist on 28.08.2011 at 05:41

Btw, I don't know if you agree with me but this is maybe their finest work so far. Their past deliveries are decent too but with Sol, it seems to me they've finally found their own sound that seperates them from the rest and it's just a matter of time before they reach the crest of the black metal wave. If only they had many albums to defend their legacy..

I agree. Their earlier material I'd describe with words such "nice", "decent", "good", "worth of listening", but now they have offered something that I want to listen to more and more, and save the musical experience permanently on my mind.
Carl Berg - 15.01.2012 at 00:58  
Riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs. An excellent black metal album.

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