Since 2014, the Swedish pagan black metal act Bhleg has been fusing the elements of folk into their music. The creativity of their craft represents a unique vision of artistry and is one of the reasons why the band seems inspired by pure spirituality. Formed in 2013 by L. (bass guitar, vocals) and S. (guitars, keyboards), in 2014 the duo released their debut album “Draumr ást” followed by their sophomore album “Solarmegin” in 2018. Regardless of the traditional approach to black metal, their third outcome “Ödhin” is by far the best output, combining mystical pagan folk melodies with pure Scandinavian black metal. Bhleg’s music is very meditative and can be best describes as a cold and chilling black metal.
“Ödhin” encapsulates the emotive melodies of folk music. Although the songs on the album sound simple, they’re beautifully layered with plenty of tremolo-picked riffs and grim vocals. The opening track “Vyss” begins with some kind of whispering until suddenly the drums flit into blast beats. The band creates a chilling atmosphere where it defines the original Norwegian black metal. The overt influence of early Ulver’s album “Bergtatt” can be distinguished throughout the album while the strumming strings and the use of the minimalist synth passages give the music a unique feeling. The folk elements create a warm atmosphere contrasting with the coldness of the black metal. Bhleg manages to evoke and explore the ancient ways of Paganism. There is a raw feeling to the songs overall with the drums often executing fast blast beats. The blistering riffs perfectly capture the cold and frigid tone of Nordic black metal.
“Alyr III” is one of the most emotive and touching songs that combines majestic chorals with synth. The emphasis is on keyboards here, but within the framework of the song composition Bhleg manifests a countless variety of melodies. The ambient synth also adds to creating a reflective atmosphere. The instrumental track “Gyllene gal” is textured with layered strings. Bhleg’s work of art brings many influences from the original Norwegian black metal bands like for instance Burzum.
The whole album offers deep spirituality of the ancient Scandinavian philosophy, where “Slukad sol” has a slightly melancholic tone with the synth creating some kind of ethereal aura. While the dominating themes are mostly inspired by Pagan mysticism and nature, Bhleg‘s music creates different moods. The songs are dark, infused with folk melodies and charged with sharp tremolos and swift blast beats. Reflective moments take you on a journey through the cycles of life and creation. The whole album consists of hymns and folk patterns conveyed brilliantly in the vein of the Norwegian black metal style.
“Ödet” begins with a beautiful pagan hymn that adds a somber quality, the guitars sound chilly and the harsh vocals sound perfectly grim. There is something about the whole atmosphere whilst the tremolo-picked riffs give a melodic aspect to the music. “Ödhin” is a balanced album that switches masterly between fast tempo and slow acoustic guitar passages, with plenty of melancholic moments that feature beautiful guitar work.
Bhleg‘s third effort is a blend of fast and downbeat moments, though the album closure “Drömmen om vårdrädet” is solely wrought by a calming acoustic outro. This album is by far the best output by this Swedish duo. With textural strings and cascading synth enclosed in the running time of forty-seven minutes, it results in a unique fusion of pagan folk black metal proficiency. Highly recommended for fans of early Ulver, Burzum and anyone who likes their black metal with a ritualistic pagan touch.
Release Date: January 15th, 2021
Label: Nordvis Produktion
- Alyr III
- Gyllene gal
- Slukad sol
- Drömmen om vårdträdet