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Eternal Helcaraxe: To whatever end

29/12/10  ||  cadenz

The flame of old still burns. With Primordial as flagship, the Irish produce a lot of “pagan metal” vessels. This particular ship is sailing northward, gaining influences from the taunts raining upon them courtesy of the vikings standing paramount on Scandinavian shores, but still pushing on ever higher into the freezing cold. At last, they reach their destination at the utmost North, and in the skin-scaldingly cold waters of the Arctic they baptize themselves as Eternal Helcaraxe. Now, if you have read Silmarillion and are a complete Tolkien nerd, you might have enjoyed this introduction a few percent more than the others (not counting on it though). The others: click here and looky in the middle, up top.

So, these feisty Irishmen are wanting the ice to stay there eternally? Well, good luck to you. Just like Greenpeace, you fight for a good cause but apparently in vain, as the world plummets down the shitter. And occasionally, the shitter plummets back. Why this review turned into a fucken environment study I don’t know, but I’m putting an end to it now. Must be ‘cause they call Ireland the “Green Island”. Wouldn’t “The Black Island” be cooler? That’s what BP thought HAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah.

Eternal Helcaraxe have been around since 2003, but this is only their second demo, or self-released MCD. The first one was released in 2008. Why there hasn’t been more fuzz around this band I do not understand, as they sure have great potential. Must be the band name, BP are probably blackmailing them as we speak. In short, EH play atmospheric, melodic and… well…. pagan black metal. I know that sounds stupid. So sue me.

My initial statement regarding thee olden flame still burning holds up to the musical content as well (see, I’m clever, aren’t I?) as the demo’s atmosphere brings to mind both the Norwegian black metal sound of the mid-90’s, as well as the earlier works of the already mentioned pioneers Primordial. And some Cruachan; man, haven’t listened to them in probably 12 years or something, and they sucked, but still I get the same vibe from these guys. Must be ‘cause they’re all Irish!

Anyway, national romantic lyrics (which does not equate with Nazi, you stupid fucks) coupled with suitably grim production, guitar-driven songs in various tempos and a croaking vocalist make for a nice mix. It is obvious that Praetorian and his bros are focusing on bringing the songs to life through the atmosphere, and it’s working very fucken good indeed. Some subtle keyboards far away in the background elevate the mood, and some acoustic guitars and the occasional clean vocals fit into the sound canvas like a twelve-incher into Jenna Jameson. Wearing these. “But,” you say, “if she’s wearing those, where does the oooooohh… I see.”

It’s weird these guys haven’t gotten signed yet, as this demo is quality epic stuff. It’s well-produced, well-arranged, well-played and well-composed, the only thing I’m not sold on are the croaky vocals that could’ve had a more solid timbre to them, and possibly more variation as well. Small minus though, this is as solid a demo as I’ve heard in quite some time. Keep on drilling boys, you’ll hit the mark eventually!

8,5

  • Information
  • Released: 2010
  • Website: www.eternalhelcaraxe.net
  • Band
  • Praetorian: vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums
  • Maulgrim: guitars, backing vocals
  • Niall Hughes: bass
  • Tracklist
  • 01. …And as Kings We’ll Fall
  • 02. To Whatever End
  • 03. Kin, Comrades & Country
  • 04. Strike
  • 05. All the Battles to Come