Rating:
8.2
Helfahrt - Drifa
30 April 2010


01. Wind
02. Drudnhax
03. Wenn Kälte wärmt
04. Abschied
05. Drifa & Snior
06. Der Zeit entstellt
07. Auf dem Strome
08. Zu Asche
09. Staub


Alright, you guys, stop sniggering already. Yeah, it's true, the band might not have picked the best name for the international market, but I can assure you that its meaning has nothing to do with diabolical intestinal wind-expulsions. Actually it's German for "Journey to Helheim", where the not-so-brave vikings, who haven't died in battle, end up.

Previously Helfahrt had been known for their straightforward, no-frills pagan metal. Their music has always been undoubtedly pagan metal and the scarce use of flutes and acoustic guitars added a folky edge to it. On Drifa, Helfahrt's third and sadly last album, the folk influences have been retracted even more while the black metal impact has grown more prominent. This makes them resemble fellow Germans Helrunar at times while leaning more towards the pagan than towards the black metal side. So if you need your usual humppa-mead-and-glorious-battles pagan metal, you most certainly won't like this album.

Which would be a pity because it offers some great song-writing. Between the acoustic folk of "Abschied" ("Farewell") and the black'n'roll a la Vreid of "Zu Asche" ("To Ashes") the whole spectrum of the (non-happy-go-lucky) pagan metal universe is covered in quite an original yet monotonous way. Yes, this is a paradox, but this impression is mainly due to the steady quality of the entire album, resulting in the lack of any standout tracks, but also in the lack of low points and fillers. At no point Drifa diverts too far from the path set by the very first song "Wind" (Don't think I can't hear you giggle, you fans of pubescent humour in the last row!) and all the little nuances might take a few spins before they all have been identified. The well-utilized changes of pace which keep each song interesting, the occasional use of acoustic guitars, the piano in the closer "Staub" ("Dust"), the organ in "Wenn Kälte wärmt" ("Warmed by Coldness") and "Der Zeit entstellt" ("Disfigured by Time") and of course the great production which even allows the clearly audible bass to add its groove, all building a foundation for Max Marquardt's (ex-Sycronomica) raucous vocals.

To summarize, Helfahrt's swansong might be considered a catchier incarnation of Helrunar. Or a folkier incarnation of Vreid. If that's what you're into, be sure to give Drifa a listen. If not, give it a listen nonetheless. It'll be the last you'll hear of these overlooked Germans. And you can claim to know a band with a name that sounds like diabolical intestinal wind-expulsions.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


 



Written on 02.02.2011 by
Promonex
Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.
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DethDonald - 03.02.2011 at 01:18  
Couldn't help but laugh.
Merchant of Doom - 04.02.2011 at 12:31  
Good album, not as good as Helrunar's, though...

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