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Album Reviews : HJELVIK – Welcome to Hel

By on November 18, 2020

Ex-Kevelertak frontman Erlend Hjelvik is about to open the gates of Hel with his new solo project, a blackened viking heavy metal outfit in HJELVIK, who are due to release ‘Welcome to Hel’ on the 20th of November. Taking all that we love from a range of heavy genres, this record consists of a broad number of influences and inspirations but falls hard into its Nordic themes. Welcome to Hel is comprised of 10 tracks, all of which have their somewhat simplistic base – a fast tempo, heavy rhythmic sections, high pitch tweaking melodies scattered throughout and of course the harsh vocals that you came here for. Beyond their simple nature, these tracks tell a tale, a tale that Erlend himself is writing the music he wants to write, and is having a damn good time while he’s at it.

Take ‘The power ballad of Freyr’ for example, a slower paced classic heavy metal tracks with your underlying death metal undertones. Taking risks and mixing it up with tracks like this is exactly why this album is so successful, and damn fun to listen to. Hjelviks’ vocal work throughout this album is fantastic, his beastly growls add an extra element to the musicianship and are backed up with beautiful guitar tones that resonate through the whole album. Add to that if you will, the constant solo-ing and pacey melodic riffs and you realise that HJELVIK have really nailed it with this modern brand of metal they bring to the table.

The recently released single ‘Glory of Hel’ featuring High on Fire’s own Matt Pike is something else to behold. There is almost a sense of vocal duelling, a battle for the ages if you must. Pikes vocals are Godly, and their deep rough nature is balanced out by the higher screeches of Hjelvik and it creates a fantastic soundscape. This track is definitely one of the highlights to the album, and also has an incredible music video along with it that has phenomenal visuals.

Overall the musicianship, song writing, and Nordic ideologies throughout this album all hit home. Not only is this a great way to debut your solo work, it’s also the type of album to get fans wanting to get back out into a live setting – and I’m sure most people across the world already feel that way. This record gives a great sense of things to expect in the future for Erlend Hjelvik, but for now, grab a Viking horn, fill it with beer and listen to this record.

Album: Welcome To Hel
Year: 2020
Genre: Viking Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Origin: Norway