ARCKANUM - Helvítismyrkr LP
That Shamaatae somehow picks up a band’s worth of slack and sculpts incendiary paeans to Nordic deities is impressive; that he’s been doing so pretty consistently since 1995 is even more so. Like Sviga Læ and the unpronounceable ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ before it, Helvítismyrkr is another collection of propulsive, hummable hymns. These riffs stick with you – not from hypnosis or transcendent repetition, but simply from being really well written. Our man has honed his craft to such precision that the songs always feel like they’re going somewhere. The quicker numbers like “Svartr ok Þursligr” and “Ór Djúpum,” with its thrashing gallop, keep pushing forward. This is war machine black metal, with one cog in the entire wheel. “Nifldreki” and “Myrkrin Vinna Hefnt” are what Amon Amarth would sound like if they played black metal, all double bass 16th notes and diminished tremolo leads leading the charge, with subtle melodies and dramatic tom fills dotting the latter song’s march. Again, propulsive is the keyword here.