Cuban quintet Helgrind set ears alight with their pummeling pagan metal that’s a little symphonic and a little black metal and sounds a lot less like Havana and a lot more like Oslo. And therein lies the charm. Embracing Slavic and nordic soundscapes from halfway around the world, Helgrind executes like natural purists and has garnered much acclaim from their Scandinavian brethren. Since 2012, these dudes have been at it, and it certainly seems like as good a time as any for Cuban metal to be centre-stage.

For those unfamiliar with their tunes, Helgrind are now offering their killer track “Rusalka” as a free song download. The third track from Return to Motherland (2021, Black Spark Records), “Rusalka” gets down to business immediately and doesn’t let up until the final thirty seconds with a tender, atmospheric outro that makes sure to let you down gently.

On the crushing tune, Helgrind offers the following insight:

“A Rusalka in Slavic mythology is a spectral being in the shape of a woman who uses enchanted songs to seduce and drown her victims, making an allegory of mermaids. Helgrind’s song appreciates the declaration of a man before a Rusalka. This man, even knowing that he is going to die, decides to surrender to her. The description of this event is epic and, at the same time, it is an act of courage and of following an ideal even if it leads to death. There is also evidence of a small dialogue between the man and the Rusalka, which in the Russian language clearly shows what her intentions are and it culminates with a seductive siren song. The duet of voices between the character and the Rusalka makes this song a very captivating piece for the listener.”

Artwork for ‘Return to Motherland’ by Helgrind