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The Journeys And The Experiences Of Death
(Dark Essence Records / Karisma Records)

I've listened to that HELHEIM album over and over again and it's one of those albums that have a very tough beginning, but grow after each listening. A creative piece of Metal art that needs full dedication and if you label the Finish reindeer and humpa-humpa bands FINNTROLL, TURISAS or ENSIFERUM Viking Metal then HELHEIM defintely won't let you enter their dragon boats. HELHEIM's debut "Jormundgand" could be labeled as a really special and dedicated album of that genre. Not about production, but about feeling, and in some way "The Journey And The Experiences Of Death" lacks that feeling in a minor way. Maybe because in its first half the album is really focused on riffing brutality and beatwise, somehow you might have a bit of a ZYKLON feeling here and there, while the end of the album gets darker and more epic. Compared to genre godz ENSLAVED it's obvious that the HELHEIM quartet still sticks to brutality instead of overacting with progression and psychedelic elements, although HELHEIM also have a lot of faces, while especailly the epical 'Oaken Dragons' (feat. "Big Boss" from Czech ROOT on vocals) is really oustanding. Unfortunately I'm not really convinced by the production (courtesy of Bergen's Conclave Studios), which could be more detailed and massive sounding to me, cause the arrangements are really complex and with huge space to discover. It's extreme Viking Metal with a special type of approach, not based on 08/15 clichees. If you plan to check it out, then look forward to the digipak version which comes along with the so far never released "Helsviti" MCD that has been recorded back in 2001 at the classical Grieghallen Studio in Bergen, Norway.

Ralf Hauber

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