German black metal veterans Helrunar are purposeful, meticulous and teeming with a tangible confidence burnished over nearly two decades of releases. Comprising multi-instrumentalist S.K. and vocalist M.D., the duo continues to rage ever onwards with the solid and sinister full-length album Vanitas Vanitatvm. Embrace their brand of otherworldly pagan madness with our premiere of the album’s fourth track “Blutmond”.
S.K. wastes no time opening the song hungrily with surging guitars and a downbeat-driven snare groove, an initial passage that quickly establishes an atmosphere of unease. Soon, M.D. enters the fray, layering his signature midrange rasp atop the twitchy chords and pulsing drums. M.D. continues his abrasive assault into a plodding verse, leading the way into a series of instrumental passages that fall where traditional choruses might otherwise dwell. The atypical structure enhances the song’s unsettling ambiance, leaving the listener with few familiar anchors.
Midway through the song, the tumult ceases for a heartbeat as S.K. layers in a brief acoustic guitar solo. It’s a striking choice, with the guitar’s gentle, nimble notes contrasting starkly against the rest of the instruments before the relentless tide resumes.
On Vanitas Vanitatvm, the band’s ironclad sense of identity is on full display, M.D., and S.K. in full synchrony with one another as a singular entity. The album is “our most cynical and misanthropic work to date in a consciously exaggerated way,” says M.D. establishing a theme successfully reflected in the music’s dour, biting countenance.
Vanitas Vanitatvm drops on September 28th with Prophecy Productions and is currently available for pre-order in digital and physical formats.