Tsjuder celebrates thirty years of blasphemy.
Originally formed as Ichor in 1993, the band led by Nag (bass/vocals, Krypt) and Draugluin (guitar/vocals, Tyrann), and completed by Frederick Melander (bass, Dampf, ex-Bathory) and Jon « The Charn » Rice (drums, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, ex-Job for a Cowboy…) live, released Helvegr, their sixth album in 2023 on Season of Mist.
The band immediately attacks with Iron Beast, a very raw composition with sharp riffs, hosting some equally aggressive vocal parts. I’d missed the band’s savage approach, and their uncompromising riffs are as effective as ever, barely calming down with the ominous break leading us into the final wave of rage, followed by Prestehammeren and its unhealthy introduction complemented by a heavy sound which eventually accelerates. Razor-sharp rhythm perfectly blends with the band’s straightforward martial approach, while reserving plenty of room for vocals in the abrasive mix, before Sutr offers us a more soothing but still icy introduction. The band’s uncompromising Norwegian roots take over the rhythm section, giving it an imposing sound while remaining extremely aggressive and heady, before Gamle-Erik returns to Black Metal’s wild approach with furious Old School sounds fueling both the frenetic blast as well as raging riffs and vocal parts. Chaos Fiend literally leaves us a second before firing a riff salvo in our face, barely allowing a few more airy elements to join in the charge to temporize the onslaught, while Gods of Black Blood breathes new life into it while relying on some dark, ominous sounds in the background. The icy final also features intense backing vocals before Helvegr, the long eponymous track, develops a melancholic melody leading to haunting, dissonant riffs topped by visceral screams, but also a long, livelier lead section before a catchy part, followed by the crackling of a fire, then by Faenskap og Død, which returns to its more aggressive influences. Blasts and fast riffs answer each other between two growls, but the track remains fairly short, as does Hvit Død, the last composition, which closes the album with a cold, haunting and relatively melodic sound without any vocals.
Tsjuder has not lost its touch, offering on Helvegr a dark, straightforward and uncompromising sound which constantly assaults us. Their Norwegian roots are exploited to perfection, making this album a real raw gem.