Donarhall is an one – man band, coming from Germany and it exist since 2016. What caught my attention, before even listening to their music, is the quantity of their releases. By a short search you can find out that Gnev, the mind behind Donarhall, has already released five full length albums, two splits and one EP just in the three years this band exist. I mention especially this band (Donarhall), because Gnev appears in various other bands, mostly one – man bands, and in 2019 he has released in total six full length albums and one demo. All this music production is something very strange to me and for sure I didn’t have the best opinion when I put their cd to play on. Helvegr was released in 25th of July in 2019 and is limited in 500 copies by Symbol of Domination Prod. and contains eight instrumental tracks which last forty seven minutes in total.
By the minimal, black and white artwork, showing a mountain, I was expecting something epic and cold. I was quite right as Donarhall play a melodic, other times slow other times faster Black Metal, combining their intense melancholic sentiments with the coldness of the heavy winter and some epic – atmospheric elements here and there. Although I started listening to this album in a negative approach, track by track, listen by listen they gained my attention mainly with their riffing that I think is the main, if not the only way, through which the band is trying to communicate its feelings and images. The riffs are melodic, heavy and passionate, they have some very interesting moments as also some boring ones. However the changes into the track make it more interesting and move the story forward, although a few times the changes were not as successful resulting in losing my concentration. The tracks are long, as they last from five to eight minutes but their structure is good so they rarely become boring.
Regarding the production, the sound is quite warm and bassy, something not suitable to the style of the music as someone would expect a rawer and surely colder result. The atmosphere is thick like fog and dark, highlighting the melancholic – depressive feelings the music expresses. The instruments demonstrate a high level of ability especially the guitars, which are clean, very passionate and sentimental. The bass is very heavy and dark and gives a bassy and warm feeling to the music, while it has some good lines. The drums are typical, without anything extraordinary, they are stable and support the music very well. The mixture is very good and balanced, emphasizing the guitars and giving the depth that the compositions need.
After listening to Helvegr for many times, I still have mixed feelings. I think that there are some very interesting riffs but the artist hasn’t tried to build on top of those ideas. On the contrary, he has presented all his ideas without filtering any of them. I also felt that I was missing the vocals a lot but this one is a matter of taste. The songs that I liked most are Vinda, Sunna and Natt. I believe that if he work a little more and build his songs on his good ideas, he will make a very interesting album. This one is not a bad album but not that good one either. The fans of atmospheric, melodic and melancholic Black Metal listen to it.