There are many battlegrounds throughout Europe that people associate with World War II. One key area though that doesn’t get the attention it deserves is Norway. The greatest sign of Norwegian defiance to Hitler’s invading Nazis was the letter “H” crossed with the number “7”. It was a reminder to the people of Norway of their exiled, sovereign ruler King Haakon VII. Much like those who raged against their oppressors the music of one-man, Norwegian black metal project, Blodhemn, is a furious and constant blast of highly-coordinated violence.
With his sophomore full-length, H7, bestowed upon somewhat unsuspecting metal world, Blodhemn has melded together the world of first and second wave black metal with thrash aesthetics. It’s a vitriolic blend of influences that lend to mighty fits of virtually unrelenting aggression. From the crackling flames that open the album on “Flammenes Virke” to the final notes of “Homengraa” this is an album that simply never really takes its foot off your throat. It’s high octane heavy metal of the highest order. Nowhere is that more evident then on the track “Evig Heder”, with its galloping, old school thrash attack that diverges into powerful second wave black metal elements throughout. It’s an equally nasty and catchy piece of music that truly sheds light on what poisoned wells Blodhemn is consistently drawing from.
At some point, when discussing this album, some obvious reference points may be bandied about. The early outputs of bands like Emperor, Dissection, and Marduk along with the more recent offerings of Darkthrone and Impaled Nazarene are certainly fair game from a comparison’s standpoint. But it’s also not completely indicative of what Blodhemn has accomplished with this album and what they stand to continue to accomplish with future outputs. H7 is an album that, much like its musical ancestors, draws the listener into the cold, harsh world of a Scandinavian winter, replete with a biting harshness that absolutely envelopes everything it its wake. Yet, just like those great masters who have come before, Blodhemn is able to share a singular vision of musical severity devoid of any mimicry and wholly memorable from first to last note.
H7 is out now on Indie Recordings. You can experience the track “Slettet Av Tid” on YouTube.