And so Swedish goth chanteuse Helga joins the ethereal-female-singer-Championships 2019 with a new EP, The Autumn Lament… There’s a big market for this kind of stuff, obviously, but equally there are a lot of competitors with their chapeaus currently in the ring; Does Helga have enough of the X-Factor required to stand out from the kohl-eyed crowd?
At times – especially on the superb Worlds Apart – you’d have to say yes. Helga as an artist is currently involved in transcending her black metal roots, making obvious comparisons with names like Myrkur effectively redundant. In truth, apart from a few overdriven guitars and impressive riffs on opening track Mörker, there’s little or nothing here to get metal tastebuds twitching. But if you’ve an ear for Weimar Republic shabbiness (you could imagine the faded waltz of Sleep Well, Rest In Peace inserting itself into a Kurt Weill inspired ‘comic’ opera) or the sort of will o’ the wisp ethereality of Chelsea Wolfe or even Florence (sans machine, obvs), then this all too brief five tracker will be ringing plenty of bells for you. Fans of indie folkstress Beth Orton might find more than a little to enjoy on second track Into The Light, too, but that’s by the bye…
Helga herself has a pleasant voice, though it’s not going to drag you in on it’s own; her use of the voice as another texture, complementing the instrumental accompaniment is, however, pretty special. She has a flexibility in her approach that allows her to take on just the right feel for each piece of music, without ever seeming gauche or affected in any way. The vocal break in the middle of Mörker sees this skill shown in it’s best light, though it’s evident almost everywhere else too.
There’s no real central theme running through the five tracks – they seem to have been selected to each show a different face of Helga – but they display enough cohesion to suggest that a full length dose of Helga would be no less appealing.
The Autumn Lament is out now.