Arstidir Lifsins is one of the most fascinating bands in all of extreme metal. Using traditional pagan instruments in addition to more par for the course black metal fare the band has been abel to craft a sound that is epic and over the top, something that tastefully reminds us of days of yore as the band chant at you in old Norse. Heljarkvida may be less ambitious and dense than 2015's Aldafodr Ok Munka Drottin but in many ways that works to the bands credit, reminding us time and time again how good Arstidir Lifsins really is.
The eerie opening with big full throated chants and strange otherworldly melodies is the perfect prelude to this two track master piece. Each side of this record is around twenty minutes long and allows the listener to really dig in to what Arstidir Lifsins have to offer, with fully fleshed out songs that entrance the listener and go through logical, beautiful movements. Heljarkvida is a transcendent piece of art, an album that rages forward but isn't afraid to step back, nodding at groups like Enslaved and Ensiferum whilst simultaneously proving that they are part of something far different and perhaps closer to Wardruna than anything else.
Heljarkvida was the next logical step for Arstidir Lifsins. Though their music will always be dense and hard to pick apart I feel like this album opens up the sound a bit more and allows the listener to really reflect in the magic of what the band does. The flawless shifts from chanted Norse vocals and folk instruments to tormented blazing black metal is wonderfully executed and reminds us time and time again that Arstidir Lifsins are going to take over the folk metal world, it just might take a little while.
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