Welcome to the best band you’ve probably, and unfortunately, never heard of. New Jersey’s death metal titans Helcaraxe bring forth another solid outing in their compilation album, Children Of Ygg.

I must admit, I sat on this review a lot longer than I should have. This record fell just outside of my top 10 records of the year that saw some true heavyweights have releases. It’s complexity I think is what through my feeble brain aloof. I normally do better when records are presented to me in an ordered fashion and Helcaraxe does me know favors. Their namesake, The Grinding Ice, taken from Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, is absolutely fitting. Helcaraxe’s song writing is absolutely epic, superbly technical, and gravitationally catchy. Since I’m an idiot when it comes to this style of death metal, the easiest comparison would be Opeth (without nearly as many clean parts) due to the progressiveness in the writing but they do rely on some of the more furious Viking-black metal hybrid style of Unleashed and are almost folkish at certain points. Instead of relying the speed and urgency you normally get delivered with death metal, the band firmly plants its feet in the ground with exceptional song writing. It’s a style that is better suited the music appreciator rather than the savage that just wants to clobber people in the pit.

No thanks to anyone in the band for letting me know, but it wasn’t until research into the record did I find out that this technically isn’t a “new” record so to speak. Sure there are some new tracks but the majority of the record is songs from previous records with better production and a cover of Bad Religion’s “God Song” that comes completely out of left field. Before I had that information, this record flowed so naturally that I just made the assumption that it was all new material and I think that is a testament to the bands ability to not break the mold that has worked for them up until this point. The music is already experimental in nature that they’ve never found the necessity to stray from the path and for that I thank them.

Personally I think the band had peaked with their last actual full length, The Red Dragon, but this is a very welcomed accompany piece for someone that doesn’t have much, if any, of their back catalog. This is a band that isn’t on nearly enough people’s radars and that’s a shame because they are one of the best put together metal outings that I’ve had the experience in listening to. This record comes highly recommended and if you like this mix of era’s from the band, then absolutely grab The Red Dragon as well.