Mr Invisus has been competently plugging away at this game since 2004, with full length releases in 2012 and 2014, and though it’s been five years since the sophomore album, we are reminded very quickly that quality trumps quantity.
The intro track suggests an experimental left-field adventure, but this soon gives way to a modern thrashy black metal sound on “Det Gjekk Ein Faen”. In places, Blodhemn would appear to have more in common with Black Fast than black metal. It’s perhaps testament (pun intended!) to the evolving soundscape of extreme metal that the black and thrash styles compliment each other well on this release.
The vocal delivery veers between shouting and shrieking, never losing ferocity or venom. The composer understands the importance of dynamics in maintaining the listeners interest. Watain could be this good if only they weren’t so pretentious, and within the more melodic passages you may also detect a subtle hint of Dissection worship.
On tracks such as “Ostfront”, a more punkier dynamic is introduced ala early Mayhem and later Darkthrone which sits comfortably amongst the discordant melodies, double stops and juxtaposed thrashy rhythms. The middle of “Nordhavs Spell” reveals a more atmospheric passage that wouldn’t be out of place on an Emperor record, and the epic “Uante Krefter I Fra Nord” opens with a Maiden-esque galloping riff.
Many bands incorporating such variety in their sonic arsenal tend to veer from one sound to another, however Blodhemn manage to glide between them. A great balance is also maintained with the production job, staying the right side of the fine-line between clarity and over-polishing. This results in a clean yet compelling feel to the album.
Blodhemn borrow heavily from the great and good, and seamlessly blend these elements into something greater than the sum of its parts. A notable entry in the evolution of extreme metal that’s even more remarkable when you consider that this is all the work of one man.