Roel de Haan : It has been a while since the excellent 'Kaoskult' album was released by the Norwegian veterans of Helheim. A few months ago we were treated with a nice appetiser in the form of the mini album 'Asgards Fall' and now finally 'Heidindomr Ok Motgangr' is here. After the departure of guitarist Thorbjørn, who has had a significant impact on the sound of Helheim, I was curious about the direction the band would head into with this album. Would they continue in the same vein or would they head once again into different waters?
The answer is a little bit of both actually. Helheim didn't move into fields unknown but simultaneously didn't stay exactly in the streams where 'Kaoskult' led them. 'Heidindomr Ok Motgangr' feels definitely rawer or perhaps more primordial. However, much of the aesthetics has stayed the same, with only subtle but important changes noticeable. There's a significant decrease in the bluesy guitar style and although it's not completely devoid of it, it did result in an album that sounds severely colder than it's predecessor. Helheim's best characteristic is their ability take a theme that has been beaten to death like no other (Norse mythology), and take it somewhere unknown and add a certain depth to it all. It shows, 'Heidindomr Ok Motgangr' is thoroughly engaging and challenges conventions while retaining a sense of familiarity through it all. Recommended to the fullest.