Total Time: 41:20
Label: Season of Mist
TSJUDER comes from Norway and was formed in 1993, at a time when all eyes were on the Norwegian Black Metal scene. They debuted in 1997 with the EP “Throne of the Goat” and their first full-length album entitled “Kill for Satan” was released in 2000. They managed to build a very respectable name in the Black Metal scene, with their album “Desert Northern Hell” of 2004 which stands out until nowadays. Their full discography is consisted of two EPs and six full albums, with their sixth album “Helvegr” being released this year, eight years after the very good “Antiliv”.
The record’s title means “hell” and, in combination with the artwork, prepares us perfectly for what is going to follow. From the first second of the opening song “Iron Beast” a Black Metal hell comes out of the speakers! Truth is that I did not expect TSJUDER to sound so extreme with their new album, having the impression that they would release something similar to ‘Antiliv’, a harmonious coexistence of fast and more mid-tempo songs. However, in “Helvegr” the Norwegians are furious and offer us an extreme sound of Black Metal, with a war atmosphere and a massive production. The only compositions that differ are the title track and ‘Hvit død’. The last one is a melodic outro while the title track, which is also one of the best compositions in TSJUDER’s career, follows a slow rhythmic path, combining the typical Norwegian Black Metal melodies with influences from BATHORY.
As for the rest of the album’s songs, while listening to them you feel like being in a battlefield with bombs exploding around you! Compositions like “Prestehammeren”, “Surtr”, “Gamle-Erik” are ripping flesh apart with their violent musical character. The addition of breakdowns, disrupt the aggressive monotony, giving to the songs an interesting path and adding points to the already high music quality. “Chaos Fiend” could be included also in the superb “Desert Northern Hell” album, while “Gods of Black Blood” from the fourth minute and after is “monumental” as TSJUDER combine ideally melody with chants (similar to Mortuus technique on FUNERAL MIST’s albums). The band did not want just to follow the musical success of its previous record, enriching the new songs with new elements. In those, we find new techniques at the vocal section (which is shared between Nag and Draugluin), in which they have tried to incorporate parts with recitations and “sick” melodies. The album’s sound owes its huge dynamic to the addition also of several guitars layers in the background. I should also mention the remarkable performance of the new drummer Jon ‘The Charn’ Rice, while the song “Gods of Black Blood” features also Seidemann, from the Norwegian Black Metallers 1349
I personally consider that “Helvegr” is the most solid, aggressive and complete album in TSJUDER’s career. The band has released a great Black Metal album that stands out for its aggression and the combination of melodic passages into this ferocity, reminding us how this particular genre should be played. If I wanted to describe the album to someone who has not been in touch with the band, I would say that the new record has the aggression of “Panzer Division Marduk” and the melodies of “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”. This description gives an idea for the core of this album’s sound, as TSJUDER have their own musical identity. I should also mention that the record’s limited edition includes the mini-album “Tribute to Bathory Scandinavian Black Metal Attack” along with Frederick Melander (former bassist of BATHORY), containing five covers of some historical BATHORY songs! So, those of you who want your Black Metal raw and brutal, invest in “Helvegr”! The band has released a high quality record, remaining true to its roots while being fresh at the same time!
Editor: Nikos Manousis
Related Link: TSJUDER – Facebook Page