It certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see any of the 2007 efforts from Nile, Immolation or Mithras hit death metal enthusiasts’ top-ten lists at year-end, but New Jersey’s dyad of vìkingr’s, Helcaraxë (Helcar-AK-say: from Tolkien’s The Silmarillion) are making a very surprising case for themselves with the release of their hulking debut, Triumph and Revenge.
Put simply, this is an essential Pagan/Viking/Tolkien-themed death metal record. Triumph and Revenge is utterly barbarous, pummeling, and splinters bone with all the deftness and cruelty of a swinging warhammer. The core is infused with the classic sound laid forth from the forefathers, but a particularly strong nod gets thrown toward Unleashed when the riffs are fat and rumble with the weight of a battering ram. “Revenge,” “Nidhogg,” the kingly “Litany of the False God” (one of the heaviest tunes I’ve heard this year), “The Dread Helm” and closer “Vision Quest” all crush with the weight of a fist the size of an asteroid, while cuts such as “The Hammersmith,” “Gloomweaver” and “Jormungand” all turn up the fire and rip with a more furious pace.
Savagery is rampant throughout most of the shorter songs, but the undisputed epicenter of annihilation occurs throughout the 10-minute “Mjolnir.” The tune starts doomily, like a lumbering hill giant, but eventually rolls in a wealth of speed, loads of surprisingly melodic guitar licks, and one HELL of a heavy bass to help slam the victory home.
Suffice to say, any fan of brutal pagan death metal needs to pick up Triumph and Revenge. Period. And at a mere $6.66 directly from the band’s website, this will definitely be one of the smartest purchases you’ll make in 2007. Hell, even the disc’s packaging is well above what many major labels offer these days.