Roel de Haan : Helheim’s previous album ‘raunijaR’ was somewhat of mixed bag in terms of quality. Some (most) was really good and some tracks stood out for their lacklustre or lack of quality. However Helheim always delivers some interesting and their newest (ninth) album ‘landawarijaR’ is no exception to this rule and luckily is a return to true form for the Norwegians. Stylistically, there are no landslides here, but we witness a band that expands on their direction set in on ‘Heidindomr Ok Motgangr’, ‘Asgards Fall’ and the aforementioned ‘raunijaR’. This means epic Viking black metal with clever song-writing, a variety of vocal styles and of course some surprises such as timpani and horns. Make no mistake, Helheim isn’t of the ale swinging variety. They are dead serious. Helheim continues to incorporate more clean vocals and now these mesh well with the rest of the music with an interesting, almost progressive effect on the album that predominantly exudes a certain back to olden days vibe. A fascinating dichotomy, as is the frequent use of guitar-soloing. These are quite stylish and not what one might suspect. ‘landawarijaR’ has a more consistent atmosphere than ‘raunijaR’ and as such is a far more enjoyable album and even though the premise and style is similar Helheim continues to develop. Viking/black metal fans should of course check out ‘landawarijaR’ as soon as possible.