Helheim have been a lasting and destructive force on the Norwegian metal scene, while not achieving the same amount of commercial success as other black metal acts from Norway such as Dimmu Borgir or the infamy achieved by Varg Vikernes, the band have continued their reign of Norse-influenced terror in their own way. Regarded as pioneers of the Norwegian Viking Metal scene, Helheim have been apart of the scene for 20 years and with the release of Heiðindómr ok mótgangr last year, the band show no signs of slowing up.
Nico: Helheim is the abode of the Norse deity Hel, daughter of Loki. What inspired you to adopt this as the band’s name?
V’gandr: We adopted the name back in 92 after numerous of other names. We wanted to have a Norse approach to our lyrics where we had focus on the darker and more sinister parts of the Norse mythology and thus we chose Helheim as our name.
N: Heiðindómr ok mótgangr is the band’s latest album, what are the main lyrical concepts behind the album?
V: The main focus are circled around the four viten & mot parts which are based on the words of the wise (Odin) and his håvamål. Other than that the lyrics deal with human nature and its lacking of truthfulness towards the pagan. It’s all about longing as well as restrained hate. Heathendom is resistance and that’s what we’re all about.
N: What would you say are your favourite tracks from Heiðindómr ok mótgangr and why?
V: I’m proud of the whole album and every song got its moments, but the opening track kind of sets the mood and standard, so I really like that one.
N: Helheim have been a dominating force in both the Norwegian metal scene and the international metal scene. What do you feel has been the key to the band’s long-lasting career?
V: A dominating force? That’s the first time I’ve heard that, but thanks, hehe. I’ve always felt a bit aside the scene as we’ve never strived for fame or acknowledgment, but rather being truthful towards ourselves. Well, we’re a little family now and none of us are ready to leave it just yet. We have no recipe to how, we just have been around for 20 years and we have more to say.
N: Even though Heiðindómr ok mótgangr was released last year, do you have any plans for a new release?
V: Oh yes. All the material for our next release is ready and we’ll record it next year. Beware!
N: As we’re nearing the end of 2012, does the band have any plans for 2013? Providing the world doesn’t end on 21st December.
V: Release a new album and continue playing live. No more, no less.
N: What song do you feel defines Helheim as a whole?
V: Hmmm, a hard one. I can’t only pick one actually. There’s a few tracks that kind of adds up Helheim and that is: Jormundgand, Jernskogen, Dualitet Og Ulver and maybe Åsgards Fall 2.
N: When it comes to writing new material, where does the band draw inspiration from? And how does songwriting happen for Helheim?
V: We are our own inspiration believe it or not, but for Åsgards Fall MCD we were directly inspired by Bathory. Myself and H’grimnir creates music pretty much the same way we did 20 years ago and that is with and none-amplified electric guitar, hehe. And so the writing begins. Inspiration come from the inside and one song or idea can lead to another.
N: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film/movie with your own music, which one would it be and why?
V: That movie haven’t been made yet.
N: How would you describe your music to new listeners?
V: Passionate, serious, dark and beautiful. A view into the Norse.
N: As Helheim have been around for 20 years, you’ll obviously have a wealth of experience and wisdom. Is there any that you’d like to pass on to the new bands that emerging on the scene?
V: Nah, not really. Bands should do what the fuck they think is right for themselves. We learned the business the hard way and got nothing for free and I’m glad it was like that. It made us rise up and keep on going and learning from our mistakes. I think this is the right way for most bands to do it as then you see who got it and who’s not. Well, that was an advise after all…more or less. Hohohooo!
N: If you could be any hero or deity from Norse mythology, which one would it be and why?
V: I really can’t answer such a question as it wouldn’t make any sense. I never look to heroes or deities or gods or whatever. That’s what we’re trying to say in Helheim, you know. The gods are the tools of the trade.
N: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
V: As I’ve said before, I say again; heathendom IS resistance. Remember that kids, now go eat a kebab.
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