Song: North Tsar

Artist: Hjelvik

Backstory: When Erland Hjelvik parted ways with Kvelertak in 2018, the world of heavy music suddenly seemed a poorer place. His former band has gone on to rise phoenix-like from the ashes of an unhappy break-up but the fearsome frontman went underground…until now. North Tsar is the debut single from Hjelvik – the band – and ushers in a new era of brutal metal inspired by bloodthirsty Viking mythology. 

In his own words: “Shooting the video for North Tsar was a cool experience. The day coronavirus restrictions were lifted, I took the first flight from Norway to Poland and we shot the whole video in one day in a Viking village called Jomsborg. Grupa13 did an excellent job with their team including well-trained Viking re-enactors, and an amazing SFX crew. They even brought in wolves and a huge raven. It was an intense and efficient shoot. It felt crazy to be standing in the middle of a Viking battle while performing my song, especially since the village was open to tourists who appeared midway through to stand there, gawk and take selfies…making the experience slightly more bizarre! Nonetheless, I had a great time and I’m extremely pleased with the result!”

The verdict: North Tsar is a fist-pumping taste of things to come from one of metal’s most intense and talented artists. The call-to-arms melody and Hjelvik’s trademark snarl combine to create a song that takes no prisoners and shows no mercy. We’re already sharpening our blades and preparing to pillage in celebration of what’s to come.

What’s next: Debut album Welcome To Hel is out on November 20 but we’re hoping for a second single before then. Not surprisingly, Nuclear Blast has assembled a suitably frightening range of pre-orders and merch available here