After a demo ("Grátr") and their contribution to the limited split CD single with NACHTMAHR ('Hauch wird Sturm') we're finally able to experience the first HELRUNAR full length album via the fine and always very quality oriented Lupus Lounge label. And it was definitely worth the wait as "Frostnacht" impresses with a very professional production, tasteful packaging and a clever songwriting. In the past the band used to name bands such as HELHEIM, ULVER and TAAKE as sources of inspiration, and even though they don't copy any of them, they should nevertheless appeal to the same fanbase. HELRUNAR's music could somehow be labeled as "Black Metal with a difference", as it sets free the same dark atmosphere and grimness, yet often surprises with very relaxed acoustical interludes. Considering the fact that the band is not too much known yet, they already sound very matured in their writing and luckily also offer the necessary playing abilities to get their (partly rather sophisticated) ideas across. Nine out of the ten songs have German written lyrics, while the last one is in Icelandic (as far as I know). Even though it has become a very common thing these days to use German lyrics in Black Metal, I still prefer the English or Nordic languages. German may be a harsh language and therefore it obviously fits to such a style of music, but to me (as a German) it still sounds a little weird though, especially if you recognize what's been sung about (just like in HELRUNAR's case). So, to me Nordic lyrics fit a lot better. Just because of the sound of the language I already associate it with coldness, ancient warriors and stuff, without even understanding a single word (long live clichés, ha!)... But I still gotta admit that HELRUNAR's German lyrics are very clever written though. Apart from that, there's only one other little subject that I dislike about "Frostnacht"... I'm not too much into those clean vocals they used in 'Der Trank des Gehängten', but as that's something I often dislike on other records as well, so its not a particular criticism here, but my general point of view. All in all a very strong debut from a band with a bright future! For all further info check out www.helrunar.com or www.lupuslounge.com.
- HELRUNAR - Baldr Ok Iss - by Thomas Ehrmann
- HELRUNAR - Grátr - by Nathan Shapiro
- HELRUNAR / NACHTMAHR - Hauch Wird Sturm / Trollnacht - by Frank Stöver