Label: Osmose Productions
Release Date: 29 June
Format reviewed: High quality digital promo
There are certain bands which are for some time around, delivering superb tunes, and thus managing to stay away from the direct light of the projectors. Preserving the sanctity of the underground and working hard to explore new musical territories. For me personally, this is the case with Vanhelga. Translating as “profane” from Swedish, their music is just the opposite. Being around 2001, with five full-length albums so far, first released in 2010, the Swedes always have delivered very interesting and absolutely non-typical patterns, integrating many ideas laying between the extreme black metal, pure melancholy and blackgazing tunes. It is all there in their previous efforts. Furthermore, the band has experienced some changes in the line-up through the years, transforming from a one-man project with 145188 playing all instruments until 2013, to four-piece solid hateful gang now.
In the first days of the summer of 2018 (or in the very end of June if you prefer), the band released their latest “Fredagsmys” – a 56 minutes glorious black metal record with sorrowful taste. So far this is their heaviest, blackest and darkest musical expression. Despite this, the melancholy and the hidden sadness is presented gorgeously in the tracks, and now it looks even more beautiful. It’s because the sound and the mixing are on a very good level, all well polished and balanced. The instruments can be heard clearly, the vocals are evil or clean (“Vensam mord alla”, ““Sömnparalys”), and the tempo varies from slow balladic acoustic moments to absolute hateful dark blasts and guitar crescendos (“Varde morker”) . Yes, rotten and opened to core chords and sorrowful elegiac parts explode into black hate, painful solitude, mesmerizing experience and even suicidal torture. Hopeless euphoria, euphoric hopelessness. So much PAIN and schizophrenia indeed. Even the cover art is desperate! Most songs are in Swedish but the English ones “You are temporary”, “Feels like breathing in sulfur”, “RIP (relationship in pieces) just give a direction. Add “Förpasad till misaar” and all the eleven tracks are really delivering the pure joy of those who like the style – all of them memorable, melodic, meaningful, giving a heartbeat. “Psykotisk självinsinkt” is the most surprising black metal track I’ve heard most recently – really psychotic solitary. Leaving to you to explore it and decide for yourself.
When I was thinking that the first half of the year had given already a lot of fantastic black metal, Vanhelga suddenly surprised me with “Fredagsmys”, definitely making it into top 10 black metal albums of the year so far. Diverse, melodic, incorporating various elements and nuances, with prevailing desperate sorrowful tempo and mood. It is an impressive darkness! 9/10 Count Vlad
9/10 Epic Storm
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.