Review – Helsótt: The Healer

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  • Bio: "Since forming seven years ago, HELSOTT – whose name means “fatal illness” in Old Norse – has paid homage to pagan cultures and mythologies while keeping true to their American influences. " - Press release
  • Label: M-Theory Music
  • Release Date: April 28th, 2017
  • Genre: Folk Metal, Thrash Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Helsótt (“Fatal Illness” in Old Norse) is a folk/thrash metal group hailing from Menifee, California. The group came together in 2010, features ex-Shroud of Bereavement‘s Steph Robinson on keyboards and additional female vocals, as well as all original members save for lead guitarist David Watson who joined in 2013 to replace Tristan Nightingale. While the band has been active for a good while, there hasn’t been much in the line of studio output. 2012 saw the release of their first EP Fólkvangr, and the debut full-length Woven in 2014. For 2017, they are issuing a new five song EP titled The Healer, which is being handled by M-Theory Music. But does this American act deliver with this effort, or does it fail to capture the pagan spirit in which it is birthed from?

Admittedly, The Healer doesn’t really offer up anything all that different in the folk metal realm. Comparisons can easily be made to early Equilibrium and Korpiklaani, both of which are largely notable in the incredibly fun “Taverns Tale”, right down to some Blackguard and Chthonic. There’s even some Tyr love felt in the title track, playing up a somewhat epic viking metal composition with chanting vocals in the distance, though here it doesn’t quite hit that level the inspiration is known for.

The band does dabble in some thrash as well, such as with “Unconscious Power” which has a hint of Anthrax at play. The track itself is fairly basic, but still pretty fun overall. The only issue is the same as “Taverns Tale” with the keyboards just not matching the song. Sometimes they have a science fiction vibe, others a classic gothic tone, all against a fairly standard eighties thrash performance MTV would have played the hell out of back in the day.

Helsótt

“We are beyond excited to be working with the M-Theory Audio team,” says HELSOTT vocalist Eric Dow. “Marco is one of the true good guys of the industry and we look forward to everything he and his respected team brings to the table. We plan on bringing an equal amount of work to this partnership and we feel like this union will only benefit everyone involved, especially our amazing fans!”

– Helsótt

While The Healer is a pretty standard folk metal offering, it’s far from a bad one. There’s a good amount of variety, the songs are catchy, and aside some ill-fitting atmospheres the performances are good and at least get your head bobbing along. While the group’s more serious material is good, the faster, more upbeat tracks are where the group really excels and leaves you intrigued to hear more. If anything, Helsótt is only guilty of having fun while playing it a bit too safe for the style nowadays. If you enjoy any of the bands in this review, you’ll probably find something here that is at least catchy enough to bring you back from time to time.

HelsóttDigital review copy of this release provided by M-Theory Music via Secret Service PR.