Triumph and Revenge

While I enjoy the far more fruity elements of traditional Viking metal such as beer hall wocals and chants and galloping synths and such, I wish a few more bands plied a slightly darker, more brutal visage of Viking metal. Enter New Jersey’s Helcaraxë.

Named after the huge wastes of grinding ice from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Silmarillion”, Helcaraxë deliver a rumbling, lumbering mid range take on Viking metal that lies somewhere between Stockholm’s gnarlier death metal of the early 90’s, Amon Amarth and Amorphis’ The Karelian Isthmus.

With 16 relatively short bursts (some tracks are a little over a minute) of down tuned, growl filled chugging simplistic death metal, Triumph and Revenge is still majestic with appropriately themed riffs and solos that convey the grit and grime of Viking times with a far less shiny and glittering mood. Straight to the point, pummeling tracks like “Nidhogg”, “Gloomweaver”, “The Dread Helm”, “Jormungand”, “Chimera” and “Vision Quest” deliver ample crunch and bellow while still carrying a Viking undercurrent within the riffs and melodies. “The Celestial Resonance” and “Sunwheel’s Power” provide a couple of atmospheric interludes, without being to cheesy or wimpy. However, the standout of the album is the monstrous, 10-minute “Mjolnir” an epic track that rivals Amon Amarth’s “Victory March” in scope that shows Helcaraxë can deliver more than sub two minute burst of Berzerker rage and can flesh out an epic, brilliant track.

The production is loose and murky with a sort or semi Sunlight Buzz, but suits the material perfectly and vocalist J.Tranor has a ample roar, that like the musician ship is simple yet incredibly effective in the delivery of blood smeared, battle weary, rain soaked, grim faced warriors rather than shimmering, peppy, beerhall festivity.

A nice surprise from the deep Viking lore of New Jersey and I look forward to hearing much more from this band.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 22nd, 2007


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