top of page
  • Review by Faye Coulman

REVIEWED: Tsjuder - ‘Helvegr’


From the moment brutalising opener ‘Iron Beast’ clamps its cold, steely death-maw down on the jugular, ripping bloodily glistening arteries and sinew asunder with lethal, utterly lacerating immediacy, we’re left with the distinct impression that Tsjuder have more than successfully delivered on their impassioned promise of “raw Norwegian black metal…NO FUCKING COMPROMISES!”. Except, despite being liberally drenched in a myriad shades of weightily bludgeoning, abrasive and joyously battering aggression, this enticing yet overly simplistic statement of intent barely scratches the surface of the cleverly calculating and intricate carnage contained within. Translating from their native Norwegian tongue to “the path to Hell”, ‘Helvegr’ sets the unsuspecting listener on an epic and brutally energised collision course to total annihilation.


Operating at varying levels of breakneck, hammer-blasting and, at times, utterly brain-liquefying ferocity, this is a record that audibly revels in hostility, amassing a staggering presence through its various, densely impenetrable strains of blackly reverberating groove, frost-stricken tremolo and bone-shattering expanses of hyperblasting percussion. Together with a vocal section tortured and caustic enough to corrode flesh from bone, the sound barrier-shattering pacing underpinning this relentless long-player alone is a thing to marvel at. As is the towering enormity that demonic frontman Nag manifests at every intensely visceral, bile-spitting turn of his ghoulishly enveloping vocal repertoire. And from ‘Gamle-Erik’s’ scabrous wealth of craggy, viciously angular guitar accents through to the face-melting extremes of warp speed that preside over the crushingly propulsive throes of ‘Faenskap og Død’, these generous measures of primal, pulse-quickening aggression are among the various factors that make ‘Helvegr’ such a relentlessly compelling long-player.


Dig a little deeper, however, and beyond each initial, intoxicating hit of adrenaline lurks an altogether darker and more malevolent energy, of which we witness more than a tantalising glimmer of in the snaking, elegantly contorted guitar leads and lacerating arpeggios of ‘Prestehammeren’. Opening up on a dizzying whirligig of devilishly cavorting motion, ‘Surtr’ is gloriously awash with infernal majesty, its darkly elongated lines of elegantly sculpted fretwork looming large and grand as an eerily imposing gothic mansion. And, like the numerous labyrinthine recesses and crawlspaces housed within such a lavishly expansive structure, additional features and nuances continue to reveal themselves with further exploration and repeated listens.


Indeed, particularly deserving of our undivided attention is ‘Helvgr’s’ vicious yet meticulously layered title-track. Melding together influences as stylistically varied as sultry layerings of sleekly unfurling fretwork, bloodcurdling screams, and stratospheric crescendos of scalpel-keen fretwork, it's here that these highly skilled players attain truly masterful levels of ripping, hauntingly cinematic intensity.


A raw and uncompromising, iron-clad beast of a black metal band Tsjuder may be, but, as evidenced by this thoroughly sinister and grandiose body of work, there’s so much more than just unadulterated brawn and bloodlust at work here.

8/10


‘Helvegr’ is out now via Season of Mist


Comments


Email us on darkmatter.webzine@gmail.com
Keep updated by following us below

<script src='https://storage.ko-fi.com/cdn/scripts/overlay-widget.js'></script>
<script>
  kofiWidgetOverlay.draw('darkmatterwebzine', {
    'type': 'floating-chat',
    'floating-chat.donateButton.text': 'Support me',
    'floating-chat.donateButton.background-color': '#323842',
    'floating-chat.donateButton.text-color': '#fff'
  });
</script>

bottom of page