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Helheim

As one of the founding pioners of the viking metal genre, Helheim has a carrer that spanns two decades.

From the raw and primitive furiosity of Jormungandr released in 1995 the band has had a steady, but at times unpredictable development, making it one of the most interesting and inovative acts in the genre.

For well over two decades HELHEIM have represented their Norse heritage through their music and their lyrics, with an authenticity and an integrity that is frequently diluted within the so-called Viking genres.  

Helheim was founded in 1992 by V’gandr (Ørjan Nordvik) (bass, vocals) and H’grimnir (Tom Korsvold)(guitar, vocals), who shortly thereafter added drummer Hrymr (Frode Røsjø). The band began performing in local Bergen festivals, and in 1993, the band released their debut demo, Helheim, distributed only within Norway.

Soon after the release of their first demo, the band began working on new material, again as a three-piece after Nidhogg, who had joined the band briefly, left the band again. In mid-1994, the band’s second demo, Nidr ok Nordr liggr Helvegr, (“Netherwards and Northwards lies Helheim”) was released, and caught the attention of German label Solistitium (now Millennium Music). The band signed to the label and released their now classic debut album, Jormundgand (named for the World Serpent, Jörmungandr), which was recorded in Grieghallen in 1995. In 1996, Helheim followed up with a European tour.

After the tour, the band began recording their second album, Av Norrøn Ætt (“Of Norse Lineage”). With the release of the second album, the band’s contract to Solistitium Records was fulfilled, and the band was without a label for two years. Finally, in 1999, the label Ars Metalli got in touch with Helheim, wanting to sign them for a one-album contract. The band members were initially apprehensive that the mainly underground label would be able to promote them adequately, but they were eager to begin work on new material. After the band signed to the label, they were joined by Lindheim on synthesizer and Thorbjørn on lead guitars.

Utilizing a new producer, Odd Kronheim of the S.J.E.F Studio, the band recorded the MCD Terrorveldet (“The Realm of Terror”), and then another full-length album, Blod & Ild (“Blood & Fire”). Both albums received acclaim from the Norwegian Metal press, the international press, and the metal scene. The CD also included their first music video, for the song “Jernskogen” (“The Ironforest”) taken from the Blod & Ild release. In 2001, the band attempted to publish another MCD, Helsviti (“Hell’s Punishment”), but due to difficulties with Ars Metalli this release was postponed until appearing as a bonus cd on the ltd ed. Digipak version of the 2006 album “The Journeys and Experiences of Death”.

Despite these troubles, the band returned to Grieghallen to begin work on their next album, Yersinia Pestis. Massacre Records took the responsibility of releasing and distributing the album, which was well received by both critics and fans. Due to a lack of promotion, however, the album didn’t reach many fans outside of Norway. Massacre Records had initially agreed to publish the previously recorded MCD Helsviti as well, but this never came about.

In 2005, Lindheim decided to leave the band. In June 2006, the band released their fifth full-length album, The Journeys and Experiences of Death, a concept album focusing mainly on the Vikings’ beliefs concerning death. The first 2,000 copies of the album were published through Bergen based label Dark Essence Records as a Double Digipack, which included, finally, the release of the MCD Helsviti. Following the release of “Journeys” Helheim returned to tour continental Europe on a 10-date headliner tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In 2007 Helheim entered Conclave Studios in Bergen to record their sixth full length album titled “Kaoskult” (“Cult of chaos”). Kaoskult was the first Helheim album to see a dedicated US release, put out on license through Century Media USA. Following the 2008 release, Helheim embarked on their most busy year of touring to date, making three separate tour legs. First the band toured Europe together with Dark Fortress and Vulture Industries in march. September saw them tour Norway together with Cor Scorpii and Vulture Industries and finally the band returned to continental Europe headlining the “Vikings, Vultures and Villains” tour through Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and The Netherlands. This tour saw Thorbjørn leave the band handing over lead guitar duties to Noralf Venås. 

2009 saw Helheim do their first UK tour, supporting fellow Norwegians Taake on a 5 date tour of UK and Ireland. Following this the band entered the newly built Conclave & Earshot Studios in Bergen to record the “Åsgards Fall” MCD and their seventh full length “Heiðindómr ok mótgangr”. These releases saw the band expand their instrumentation with kettle drums and horns, which remained trademark elements of the band’s sound for following releases. Both releases were put out on Dark Essence Records to great press response.

Following the release of “Heiðindómr ok mótgangr”, Helheim hit a period of low activity only performing occasional festival shows, among others Summer Breeze (DE) and Inferno Festival (NO). In 2014 the band once again entered the studio, this time carrying material for two full albums. The first one to be finalized was released on Dark Essence Records in late 2015 and entitled “raunijaR”. One year later, in January 2017, the band followed up with “landawarijaR”. Receiving multiple top score reviews, among others 10/10 pts. In Metal Hammer Norway and #1 position on the sound check in Legacy Magazine and nomination for best metal album at the Norwegian Grammys. 2017 also saw the band tour the US for the first time, following music from the bands classic debut “Jormundgand” being handpicked for torture scenes in the CBS series “Navy Seals”, and festival performances on Brutal Assault and Inferno.

In 2018 Helheim started the work on “Rignir”, their 10th studio album. Once again produced in Conclave & Earshot Studios, “Rignir” sees Helheim continue to push boundaries. The album greatly expands the spectre of vocal duo V’gandr, and H’grimnirThe result is intriguing, yet familiar and unmistakably Helheim. In relation to the albums 2019 release on Dark Essence Records, the band has toured with Vulture Industries and Madder Mortem in Europe and, with a growing interest from festivals near and far, chances are that Helheim will also visit new continents in the near future.

“WoduridaR”, the eleventh full length album from Helheim, more or less sums up their almost 30 years long career, with elements from all their album combining the harshness from the first ones to the vocal arrangements on “Rignir”

The harshness and extreme sounds of “WoduridaR”, is a return to the roots for the viking metal legends Helheim. The album is a result of a fusion between their former releases “LandawarijaR” and “Rignir”, and they’ve returned to the aggression one could hear on “LandawarijaR”. However, as “Rignir” presented something new and exciting that the band enjoyed, a lot of the atmospheres, focus of melodies and the use of clean vocals is also a big part of the new album.

“WoduridaR” is an Old Norse word, that can be translated to “the wild rider”. You can draw lines from that to Odins many names and meanings. For Helheim and their new album, all the songs are conceptual free from each other, and tells their own story. It has never looked darker in the realm of Helheim, and songs like “Tankesmed” and “Litil vis madr” is good examples for that.

metalhead.it   10/10
avenoctum.com   9/10
metal-revolution.com   86/100
powermetal.de   10/10
musika.be   96/100

Darkessence Records – post@darkessencerecords.no

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