Review 1990 : Helfró – Tálgröf – English

Helfró comes into its own.

Formed in 2017 in Iceland, the band led by Ragnar Sverrisson (drums/vocals/composition, Ophidian I) and completed by Simon Thorolfsson (bass/guitar/vocals, Ophidian I) has signed with Season of Mist Underground Activists for the release of its second album, entitled Tálgröf, illustrated by Grindesign (Benighted, AngelMaker, Bonecarver…).

Jarteikn immediately exposes us to a rather Old School mixture of Black Metal with screaming leads where raw vocal parts find shelter, showing a rather aggressive aspect to the sound. Dissonant harmonics complete the solid base that takes us to Fláráð Fræði, a relatively heavier jerky composition infused with wild Death Metal patterns to which the musicians mix their unhealthy aerial roots to create a breathless contrast before offering us a moment of floating. Blast returns on Fangelsaður í Tilvist að Eilífu, reinforcing the faster and sharper parts of the track that frame the icy fog layers and other impressive keyboards, then Þögnin ytra, kyrrðin innra nails us to the floor with scathing, ultra-fast harmonics as the two vocalists literally go wild. The sound gradually fades into nothingness, finally giving birth to the ominous Guðlegt Réttlæti, which lets its riffs propel us forward, then slows to a disturbing crawl before returning to a steadier pace to join Sindur and his heavy strikes. The band doesn’t hesitate to play with speed variations to surprise and reinforce its vociferations, but the track is short, and will give way to the almost soothing introduction of Ildi Óhreins Anda, picked up by a catchy rhythm. Vocals join the devastated landscape, which becomes much more energetic and devastating during the acceleration that will keep us on the edge of our seats until the very last moment, then it’s with Traðkandi blómin í eigin hjartagarði that the band will become the most complex, letting an efficient rhythmic meet eruptions of technicality between two crushing and oppressive passages. The wilder final eventually fades out in favor of Minning um Morðingja, which throws all its coldness to our faces while hurtling along at full speed, taking advantage of its two voices to keep us captivated and helpless in the face of such an onslaught.

Between majestic orchestrations, waves of raw darkness and frantic riffs, Helfró knows exactly what to do to ensure that Tálgröf hits the bull’s-eye on every track. The creativity of his mastermind seems inhuman.


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