Helrunar - _Baldr ok Íss_
(Lupus Lounge / Prophecy, 2007)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
German pagan black metallers Helrunar are back to the fray with their second full-length album. Having found their debut _Frostnacht_ reasonably promising, _Baldr ok Íss_ sounds to me like an interesting development. Quality guitar work abounds, along with some characteristic spoken passages and occasional acoustics that succeed in lending more atmosphere to the music.

Helrunar's black metal remains comfortably located in a realm that eschews both lo-fi sonic kvlt inadequacies and commercial black metal lite elements, which provides a good base for this successful, if hardly revolutionary follow-up. On the remarkable "Baldr", the music's epic feel at times brings to mind Primordial, even without sounding derivative of the Irish masters, but Helrunar remain more firmly rooted to black metal for most of the album. The band continues to display folk sensibility on some acoustic moments while remaining a well-balanced and thoroughly enjoyable black metal act -- the incorporation of both on "Glámr" is especially successful without being overwrought. The background noise that briefly connects "Glámr" to the slower and rather annoying "Hunta and Boga" seems almost exactly lifted from Ulver's _Bergtatt_, but that's hardly a problem.

_Baldr ok Íss_ may not be 2007's defining black metal release, but there is no doubt it is among the year's finest, and Helrunar are well worth a listen.

Contact: http://www.lupuslounge.com

(article published 11/3/2008)

2/26/2011 P Azevedo 8.5 Helrunar - Sól
10/10/2005 P Azevedo 7.5 Helrunar - Frostnacht
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