On last year’s “best of” list, Havukruunu made my number one spot. Not surprisingly, as I love uncompromising epic black metal with pagan and folk incluences and a raw and primal energy to it. And it seems that the gods of metal approved and steered my hands when selecting my first pick from the endless to-do list here at DutchMetalManiac. I happened to grab Bhleg’s Ödhin, and the thought that this record is an indication of what the releases for 2021 will be like brings tears of joy to my eyes. Here’s to hoping.
Bhleg are a two-man group from Sweden who play raw and heavy folk-infused black metal. L. is the man on lead vocals, S. takes care of bass, guitars and additional vocals. On Ödhin, which is their third full length record, a certain A. is credited with drums. The record consists of 6 tracks at a total length of 47 minutes and is just simply great. Well to be precise, we have 4 “full tracks”, namely Vyss, Alyr III, Slukad sol and Ödet. Gyllene gal serves as a 5 minutes interlude consisting of dreamlike synths, and Drömmen om vårdträdet is a beautiful acoustic outro. Often such tracks would feel like filler, but they work perfectly for me in this instance, taking off some edges and molding the album into a consistent, smooth experience. The 4 black metal tracks we are left with are spiced up with chants, whispers, horns, acoustic guitars and lots of atmosphere. Great songwriting and atmosphere all around.
The music on Ödhin is a mix of outbursts of savage energy, rhythmic grooves and melancholic pauses. The overall feeling is dark, somber, painting a picture of despair and mystery. If you need a soundtrack to the endtimes, this fits perfectly. The record grabbed me from the first second, and only drew me in deeper from there. If it’s not clear up to now, I give this one a hard recommendation. If you have any love for black metal, folk metal or in general enjoy a hypnotic, dark auditory journey, then you owe it to yourself to give this one a listen. I have not known of Bhleg before, but I am very glad that I do now. What a start into the year.
Here you can also read our earlier review of Bhleg’s Äril.