Thyrfing - _Hels Vite_
(Regain Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (
After an effort as spectacular as _Farsotstider_, anyone with half a brain knew that Sweden's Thyrfing were going to be up against it when it came to crafting its sequel. Beyond simply being a riveting piece of music, _Farsotstider_ had helped the band lay practically all the groundwork necessary to help them transcend the trappings of the Viking metal label they'd been beset with for so long. Yet, it's in jettisoning these influences to a large degree that _Hels Vite_ falls down. All signs point to progress when "En Sista Litania" kicks off proceedings with a riff that's every bit as stark, stripped down and momentous as prime Burzum. "Fraan Stormens Oega" hints at a similar raison d'être, its haunting chorus only barely managing to anchor its misanthropic leanings. Even as early on as this track however, ominous signs begin to hint at the possibility of _Hels Vite_ descending into a plodding mess at any moment. While the situation never gets quite as dire, the likes "Isolation" and "Becoming the Eye" (ironically the album's only English language tracks) prove trying as they meander along without a trace of atmosphere and have run out of creative steam long before they've even come close to concluding.The album is not without its exceptions, and to view the title track as anything other than a triumph is to do the band a severe disservice. The fact remains however that Thyrfing have proven themselves infinitely capable of delivering more engaging and exciting fare than they do here.
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