Blodhemn are named after an Enslaved album … I do admit this sends cold shivers complete and utter monotony down my spine. But as is so often the case, my spine knows naff all about black metal… (As it turns out the name derives from a school-class attended by the forming member… it was about Vikings… it mean blood vengeance).
Blodhemn was formed 2004 by someone called Invisus. It appears that this is a one-man operation, though a live line-up also seemingly exists. However, the base of operations can be found on a Wickerman:esque commune-island calledFedje,Norway. Only accessible by ferry, with a population of 600. Needless to say, young Invisus had plenty of time at hand, having started this whole project as teenager (at least according to a soundclick template-interview he has seemingly answered – not very dark, this).
The whole idea of a commune like Fedje is quite interesting – essentially a place where all live in harmony… definitely not writing BM. Reading Fedje’s website, they seem to take themselves incredibly seriously. They don’t come across as a pack of lonely yet jolly fishermen. With commune activities listed as bowling, cinema (Tuesday’s only – the roads are empty those days), kid’s choir, men’s choir, women’s choir, Sunday school, youth club and “The Heartbeat” Activity House, it is hard to pinpoint Fedje. Is it a religious place, perhaps Christian, where islanders think that eating buns and drinking coffee is edgy and even somewhat insane? A Barking dog the spawn of the devil and the Quran just some metal mag? No matter what, the website makes it clear, the people of Fedje are true patriots. Populist slogans fill their website “Gales from the North, gales from the south, and once in a while, a bit of peace.” These fishing-enthusiasts also don’t take any shit when talking of the history of the island, telling of nay-sayers at first chance: “in the narrow-minded view of today’s welfare society, it could be said that Fedje is lacking in cultural monuments and heritage. However, Fedje has a rich history spanning 4000 years, visible in small changes of the farming landscape, the marshes and the building” and “Some people find the expanse of sea to give the impression of being imprisoned. TRUE Fedje people are used to the sea”
Why am I telling you this, you ask? After all this kind of xenophobic approach to the origin of a band is hardly what this site stands for, right? On the other hand, Fedje also looks like one of the most beautiful places on the planet… google-image it, if you dare. It might even be super awesome… I mean, who truly knows 600 people by name and actually likes them?
The other half of the ‘band’ hail fromBergen(I would suspect these are the live session guys), which of course is the home of FK Fyllingsdalen, who compete in the second Norwegian football division. Very similarly to Norwegian football, Norwegian black metal is probably currently reaching its peak of ridiculousness and pointlessness. Every idea has been done time and time again without even the slightest interest in doing something original. It is thus accompanied with countless prejudices that I listen to this very album.
Now surely, I’ve wasted 503 words for a reason, right? No, not right, I don’t have any sort of word count given to me, so it’s absolutely not the case at all. This is a metaphor… not a clever one, but still one at that. Fedje and black metal are essentially the same entity here. With its slogans and individual ways… full of misspellings, rules and dislikes. So what about Blodhemn… you ask?
Once we get passed the clichéd intro, there is, however, a sparkle of hope. All of a sudden the skies of doubt open and drops of inspiration start falling on my unhooded cranium. There’s balls instead of mere mundane worship. But before I get carried away, let me just hold those horses… this is essentially Norwegian black metal with death and black influences. Blodhemn have made some waves in the scene (signed to Indie, after all), but frankly this is due the most excellent riff/song-writing abilities. Everything flows very nicely and one can listen to the album from beginning to end – a rare feat given today’s general output. So whilst there’s nothing ‘new’ (when the fuck is there nowadays?) the vibe of the thing, and the quality of it all, makes up for it. It also depends what you are after, of course. Personally I can hear another band that sounds a bit like Watain, Taake, Dissection and whatnot. But on the other hand there are plenty of folks who will go nuts for this stuff. Essentially it’s only a matter of listening to it. There are moments of brilliance; there are moment of mediocrity and surprises of all kinds. But what you should not expect a revolution. It’s black metal, like it has been played from the dawn of the genre. If you can’t think of anything else to pick up this week, just make it this one.
(8/10 Miika Virtanen)