Helrunar – Sól (2011)


Today we have in our review queue Helrunar’s latest and most ambitious offering “Sól” a double-album that features 90 minutes of Black Metal with Folk elements and a great production in the hands of Markus Stock (Empyrium, The Vision Bleak). While the band has never been quite up there with the greats of the genre, this album has enough ambition to get them more attention.

After a clam introduction, the CD1 quickly explodes into the anthemic “Kollapsar”. This song sets a very furious pace that unluckily the band is only able to keep up for some moments in the next tracks. Featuring very long songs (half of the band’s songs are over 8 minutes long) there are some moments of brilliance here and there, but they are drowned with mind numbing filler and traditional BM/Folk clichés.

While the combination of shrieks, clean spoken sections, and slowdowns are nicely used through the album, they tend to feel formulaic at points. However, we have to recognize that there are some good moments in this release and with such a stellar production is hard to argue against them. But the drowning moments where the band just wastes time like at the end of “Unter dem Gletscher” with pointless repetition, greatly takes away from this album.

Some of the short songs like “Preludium Eclipsis” are actually more effective than longer ones, probably due to the fact that they are a bit more straight forward and less repetitive. Even the ‘folk-ish’ pieces like “Nur Fragmente…” feel better suited than the longer Black Metal assaults to create a nice atmosphere in the album.

Before you know it, you find yourself in the second CD (at least for us with the digital version of this album) and “Sól” second best song comes in the form of “Aschevolk”, another crushing Black Metal piece. This second CD also suffers from the uninspired repetition than the first one, but it still ‘evil’ enough for people that don’t mind it.

The experimental “Rattenkonig” introduces some interesting things, and stands out from the rest making it the third best song of this album. Before the end of the CD, we have “Litchmess” a nice neo-folk song with spoken words, and the massive 10 minute album title song, which again is ok for a while but then it gets a bit dull.

In general, we have to say that Helrunar has done a considerably better job in “Sól” than with their first albums. But if you don’t have enough creativity for 45 minutes, you will surely fail with 90 minutes of music. We are not saying that the band is bad by any means; we just think they need to cut the shit and make less pretentious songs since they have the chops to do them.

Band: Helrunar Album: Sól
Label: Prophecy Productions

Release: January 7th, 2011 (Europe) / February 8th, 2011 (USA)

Official Site myspace
Genre: Black Metal

Country: Germany

Rating: 79/100

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