Vera : Helrunar, founded in 2001, initially caused a stir as an interesting band in the German black/pagan metal genre, with lyrics inspired by Norse mythology. On the previous double album ’Sól’ we already noticed they were broadening their horizon, lyrically as well as music-wise. That evolution has grandly continued on the fifth studio album of the illustrious duo Marcel ‘Skald Draugir’ Dreckmann and Sebastian ‘Alsvartr’ Körkemeier, entitled ‘Niederkunfft’. Although a blackened foundation surely remains, one can notice other influences: especially old school Swedish death metal, but also dark doom elements and energetic heavy/thrash metal have left their traces. Thus we present you the multifarious recipe, coming from the kitchen of the Münster based band.
As theme they have opted for an insight in the transition period between late medieval times and modern times. It was a time brimming with deprivation on the road to temporary enlightening, with pestilence, witch-huntings, religious wars, famine and confusion about science and superstition. Consequently interesting topics enough to catch the feeling of fear for the Apocalypse and the struggle for daily life in eight voluminous compositions. That happened in an epic, yet rigorous manner. The sonorous, clear guitar sound of bands like Dismember and Entombed is represented in a chunky way in a production of Markus ‘Schwadorf’ Stock (Empyrium, The Vision Bleak), while fluttering leads are a melodious embrace, but they also give an eerie feel now and then. The title track, kicking off this parade from times gone by, includes several atmospheres, going from slow guitar picking to mid-paced raucousness in vocals and guitars. Also heathen vocal harmonies and solemn spoken parts are heard. The riffs of ‘Der Endkrist’ are regaled with semi-spoken rough growls, but there are some accelerations that verge to black metal too. It sounds grim and menacing. In the ponderous riffs of ‘Totentanz’ doom influences are obvious, but the solemn spoken fragments and the mantra near the end are really captivating. Helrunar always showed itself lord and master in using ancient languages, but this time we have two lyrics in English. In the relatively catchy ‘Devils, Devils Everywhere’ it is due to English sources from famous witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins, but it also stands for a kind of reaching hands to non-German fans. The songs are full of tempo and mood changes, while spoken parts always support the concept. You can read all about those investigated subjects in our interview. The general atmosphere of the chosen epoch is masterly captured in the music. Towards the end that happens in very long tracks. ‘Die Kirch Ist Umgekehret’ has some church bells passing into doom-laden riffs, but soon we are pulverized by ultra rough German grunts. Every song is a true adventure. We could not wish for a better closing track than ‘The Hiebner Prophecy’. After a German mysterious introduction, the English language reigns again, illustrating the mass hysteria after spectacular prophecies with proper brutality and proclaiming tactics. Sometimes drawling slow, then pragmatic and finally merciless, this appears to be the apotheosis of a next masterpiece of Helrunar. Going beyond every genre!