Helsótt, despite the very Old Norse word (meaning ‘fatal illness’ in case any of you out there either are a fan of viking history or collect random trivia) is in actuality an American quintet, founded eight years ago around a Death Metal frame work, incorporating several (which in this instance translates to ‘many’) Folk Metal influences – The overall viking theme being by far the most noticeable.
Slaves and Gods marks the second full-length collaboration by the band and is, straight off the bat, one hell of a power house of a performance; Musically they incorporate much of what I would expect from a traditional Death Metal band, being consistent, powerful and, relatively speaking in this case, relentless. This they have expertly coupled with several simple, yet catchy riffs as well as a fairly realistic story woven around the Norse mythology and culture presented in lyrical form – Where “Honor Thy Valkyrie” is by far my favourite part (which, incidentally, can be found below).
In many ways Helsótt has looked to their Swedish genre-kinsmen Amon Amarth for inspiration, yet have still managed to deviate from the prescribed formula enough to create their own, more epic-sounding (in an almost Power Metal way)… Sound.
All in all Slaves and Gods contain ten tracks, spanning roughly forty-six minutes. Forty-six minutes of Americanized Viking Metal, drawing heavy inspiration from their eastern counterparts, yet still finding their own way. And it is surprisingly effective. Definitely a band that I would consider watching if they ever hit a venue near me (which would be either Denmark, Germany or Great Britain, if you are reading this, members of Helsótt).
Recommended for fans of Amon Amarth and, to some extent, Ensiferum.