Review: Tsjuder – Helvegr

Introduction

Uncompromising black metal powerhouse duo Nag and Draugluin have deafened the black masses under the band name Tsjuder since 1993. Tsjuder was formed in the Norwegian capital Oslo by vocalist Nag and then guitarist Berserk. Draugluin joined their ranks one year later and they released their first demo, Ved Ferdens Ende, in 1995.

Jon “The Charn” Rice has been hired to handle the drumming duties on this new album, Helvegr, as this is their first release without AntiChristian behind the kit since Jontho of Ragnarok fame drummed on their 2002 classic, Demonic Possession.

Tsjuder

Tsjuder has previously released five hellish albums, four demos and three EP’s. Helvegr is their latest installment, will it quench our thirst after this eight year drought?

Helvegr

Helvegr is 41 minutes of relentless riffs and thundering drums. Nag’s demonic vocals hammer into your eardrums as if Satan himself were commanding it from the first track. This is not unlike the previous albums Tsjuder has released. The band is consistent with its traditions of fast and brutal pace, Norwegian sound, and satanic themes.

Helvegr, however, stands out with a different direction in cover art. Usually, Tsjuder has used a black and white image on their releases with the band logo towering in the middle. Helvegr differs from this with its beautiful blood-red color throughout the art. The band logo is also harder to spot, being faded into the majestic mountain in the back. Despite the modernized album art, the music still preserves the Norwegian black metal sound.

Tracklist
Tsjuder - Helvegr
  1. Iron Beast
  2. Prestehammeren
  3. Surtr
  4. Gamle-Erik
  5. Chaos Fiend
  6. Gods of Black Blood
  7. Helvegr
  8. Faenskap og Død
  9. Hvit Død

The drums are consistently engaging throughout the album with a deep, rounded-out sound that I really appreciate. Tsjuder also utilizes some samples as track intros, most notably on the track “Prestehammeren,” which opens with the howling sound of the notorious “Jericho trumpets” – a name given to the screaming noise from the German Ju 87 “Stuka” bombers. Similarly, the track “Chaos Fiend” also opens with a sample, in this case, the ominous sound of a gun reloading.

The album is expertly mixed and sounds fantastic. All the musical parts blend together seamlessly and complement each other perfectly. Helvegr is packed with brutal and intense riffs, which is one of my favorite aspects of Tsjuder’s music. The thrashy and fast-paced playstyle will make your head bang uncontrollably. Tsjuder will hold you in a tight chokehold and demand your full attention from beginning to end. And when they finally release you, you’ll be left longing for more!

Highlights

For listeners who want a taste of Helvegr’s brutality, the track Prestehammeren is a great choice. The German Stuka siren that opens the track sets the tone for the blitzkrieg that follows. The addition of Norwegian lyrics enhances the song and adds to its dark and sinister atmosphere.

If groovy riffs and a black n’ roll style sound is more your thing, the title track Helvegr delivers this on all fronts. The track starts off slower and gradually turns up the headbanging intensity. This is one of my personal favorites from the album!

Conclusion

Tsjuder proves themselves to be a masterful force to be reckoned with, even after three decades in the Norwegian black metal scene. With Helvegr, Tsjuder once again delivers an evil and powerful masterpiece. Over the course of their three-decade career, Tsjuder has managed to create a signature sound that pays homage to True Norwegian Black Metal while also incorporating elements from other sub-genres.

Helvegr is certainly a top contender for album of the year in 2023. I can’t wait to hear these songs live at festivals next summer!

BMZ Score: 9 / 10

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Links

Bandcamp: Helvegr | Tsjuder
Metal Archives: Tsjuder – Encyclopaedia Metallum
Facebook: Tsjuder | Facebook
Instagram: Tsjuder @officialtsjuder
YouTube: Tsjuder TV – YouTube

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