(INDIE RECORDINGS; 2014)
Blodhemn isn’t a band; Blodhemn is one man, named Invisus (which must really make it hard to play music of this complexity live… nah, just kidding… Invisus has a band for touring purposes). So, anyway, Blodhemn (“Blood Hymn?”) is black metal from the home of black metal, Norway. But, it’s black metal with some interesting twists and thrashy turns. The album’s mission statement is on display with the full-blown metal brutality of the opening track, “Flammenes Virke.” The song has everything you want in a blackened soundscape: A massive double bass drum attack, memorable guitar riffing, a pretty cool bass break (it sounds like a fretless) and raw-throated (not gutteral) vocals. My only complaint with this song is that the vocals are very low in the mix; this could be intentional for this tune only, as Invisus’ voice is pretty much out front on the rest of the record. In case you’re wondering, the lyrics are written and delivered in Norwegian… a fact that shouldn’t impede anyone’s enjoyment of this music; it’s all about melody, tonality and delivery and Invisus seems to be an expert in those fields. The basic vibe and riffage of “Slettet Av Tid” reminds me of early Iron Maiden. The fleet-fingered fret-work continues. Let me say here that being proficient on a number of instruments, enough so that you can actually record an entire song or album, is one thing; being an absolute master of those instruments is virtually unheard of. That’s where Blodhemn’s Invisus is at… he is playing some of the most complex material in any genre and performing on all fronts at exceptionally high levels.
“Evig Heder” has a wicked Nordic cowboy Motorhead groove happening, kinda like a stomping Satanic hoedown. The guitar on this track has an exceptionally nice, clear tone. Conversely, “Veiten 3” is more of a punk/metal hybrid with majestic, Sabbath-like riffs merged with Misfits style violence. Again, there’s that beautiful, deep ringing tone that sets this artist apart from all of the other metal beasts. Okay… this has been naggin’ on my noggin’ since the first track and, I think I finally have put my finger on the nag: Invisus’ vocals remind me of Venom’s Cronos, circa WELCOME TO HELL. My favorite cut on H7, “Andenes Ansikt,” features a Damned style intro leading into a slow grind of power chords and crisp, whip-snap drumming. As I’ve mentioned before, the man behind Blodhemn is a very talented person; this song probably displays those talents more than any other on this record.
“Fandesvenn” is a return to the neck-breaking speed of the first couple of tunes. Aside from the surgical precision drumming, there are quite a few odd musical reference points within the guitar work: Anthrax, the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” Thin Lizzy, Exodus, Ted Nugent, Cliff Burton era Metallica, Mercyful Fate and more, making this a unique and interesting track, not only on this release, but within the genre, as well. I’m not exactly sure what I can say about what has become my second favorite song on this album, “Holmengraa.” There are more vocals, more riffs, more power chords and more atmosphere giving the cut a breadth and scope that leaves me speechless and breathless. And, at the end of the day, ain’t that what music – any music – is supposed to do for you? I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the band version of Blodhemn on a stage, performing the songs from H7 but, as Indie Recordings is based in Norway, I seriously doubt we’ll see them stalking the boards here in the States any time soon (please… PLEASE… prove me wrong, Invisus… come to the States and play).