Hels Vite

Written by: EW on 22/10/2008 13:31:32

Rounding off my trilogy of Viking-themed releases after the reviews of Amon Amarth and Kampfar is the 6th album from Swedish outsiders Thyrfing - "Hels Vite". Though being less Viking-obsessed both in image and lyrics from their days gone by as well as the two previously mentioned bands, Thyrfing's inclusion in this mini-cluster is justified as they possess the greatest similarity to Viking metal godfathers Bathory, through an amalgamation of their "Blood Fire Death" through "Twilight Of The Gods" super-classics and an somber atmospheric black metal soundscape.

Thyrfing (a cursed blade which appears in several Scandinavian myths and tales) have arguably never reached the full potential of what is out there for them, through a lack of touring to a sound which is neither the most bombastic, fastest, heaviest, or slowest - a mid-pace reminiscent of Bathory's Viking-era album with touches of Enslaved, Kampfar, Secrets Of The Moon and Dimmu Borgir all melded together. The best of Thyrfing is displayed in my favourite track of "Hels Vite" - "Griftefrid" - which mixes up the straight ahead stomping distorted riffs that with the vocals most tie them to BM, a repeated synth lead in the choral sections and a deeply passionate doomed middle period, where the pace drags even slower to reveal a band adept at compositions of tragedy and sorrow amongst rousing tales of human darkness. I am in love with this slower section as it brings a different side to Thyrfing, one which as of yet hasn't totally been explored.

The early days of Thyrfing ("Valdr Galga" and "Urkraft") revealed the band to be a more uptempo Turisas-before-there-was-Turisas variety of Viking/(Battle) metal where synth was more jolly and merry rounds of drinking could be conducted to it's soundtrack. However, with the release of "Farsotstider" in 2005, the album which got me personally into the band, the gaiety had been toned down with the synth falling more into line to a level more respectful to the other instruments, and this is very much the formula for "Hels Vite". The band now use acoustic guitars more sparingly than in the past and can be found to have picked up a slight Enslaved influence in "Isolation", rendering Thyrfing to be a band that have formed a neat little circle for themselves in a crowded arena of Scandinavian Viking/pagan metal but without having the instantly addictive appeal of Enslaved, or Turisas. "Hels Vite" hides hidden pleasures for those prepared to work for them yet the feeling remains that after 6 solid albums Thyrfing have still yet to release THE album to send them up to Amon Amarth's current league, a position I sneakily feel might suit their unusual approach to the genre.


Download: Griftefrid, Isolation
For The Fans Of: Kampfar, Enslaved, Amon Amarth
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date 22.10.08
Regain Records

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