Album Review – Bhleg / Fäghring (2022)

This unstoppable Swedish duo returns with their most ambitious recording to date, the fourth and closing part of the album tetralogy “Ár”.

After the blackest night comes the most radiant dawn; the spark of life illuminates all that which was swallowed by shadows. Fäghring, or “florescence” in English, bears the gift of rebirth both in nature and for Västra Götaland, Sweden-based Black/Folk Metal entity Bhleg. The fourth and closing part of the album tetralogy “Ár”, with the other three parts being Solarmegin (2018), Äril (2019) and Ödhin (2021), is the most ambitious Bhleg recording to date, with its metal parts being saturated with both primal ferocity and majestic atmosphere, while the ambient interludes from their early works are still present, but now conveyed mostly through analogue recordings. Tracked and mixed using the band’s own recording setup at Studio Asu, mastered by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studios, displaying custom photography as well as illustrations and calligraphy by T. Väänänen, and featuring guest vocalists specialized in different aspects of the Scandinavian folk tradition the likes of Andreas Pettersson of Saiva, Êlea of Noêta, and Swedish author Lars Magnar Enoksen, Fäghring is undoubtedly the strongest album to date by vocalist L. and multi-instrumentalist S., this time supported by drummer H.

Vårdträdet (or “the warden tree” from Swedish) works as an extended intro that will transport your soul to the ethereal realm ruled by Bhleg, with S. being on fire with both his riffs and his tribalistic sounds, flowing into the 10-minute aria Grönskande gryning (“verdant dawn”), where L. begins screaming like a demonic entity in a brilliant fusion of Black and Folk Metal. Furthermore, S. once again is bestial with his riffage while H. hammers his drums with tons of passion and feeling, alternating between sheer heaviness and mesmerizing passages, not to mention how awesome all additional instruments by S. sound and feel. The piercing Black Metal riffs by S. set the tone in Alyr i blom (“Alyr in bloom”), with H.’s beats dictating the song’s frantic pace amidst over 12 minutes of insanity, darkness and a deep connection with nature, with S. darkening the skies with his sick guitar lines and low-tuned bass jabs, therefore resulting in one of the band’s most complex and detailed compositions to date.

Birds chirping ignite the and melancholic Befruktad jord (“nourished soil”), evolving into a massive wall of ethereal and harsh sounds and tones for our total delight while also bringing forward wicked vocalizations, flammable riffs and H.’s pounding drums. Then the sounds of nature will put you in a trance in Solvigd “(solar wedlock”), a beautiful, enfolding tune showcasing primeval elements intertwined with whimsical female vocals, before Bhleg comes crushing with Frö (“seed”), a 12-minute onrush of Black and Folk Metal that will decimate your senses with L. delivering his most infernal and anguished vocals of the entire album supported by the always venomous beats by H., blackening the ambience more and more as the music progresses to the razor-edged riffs by S. and ending with eerie, grim vociferations that build an instant connection with the atmospheric outro Fagna sumrí, (“celebration of summer”), which goes on for too long despite being very delicate and smooth. It’s still a very decent conclusion to the album, of course.

“From death springs life – stronger, wiser, and alive. Fäghring, our homage to the glorious spring, signifies the part of the natural process where life is reborn. The album is dedicated to life and its triumphs over death; it is the fourth and last album in this cycle,” commented the duo. And if you want to join Bhleg in their quest for Black and Folk Metal you can start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram, stream all of their creations on Spotify, and soon purchase your copy of the stunning Fäghring from their BandCamp page, from Nordvis Produktion, or click HERE for all places where you can buy or stream the album. This cycle might be closed, as mentioned by L. and S., but the duo is far from calling it quits; quite the contrary, Bhleg will be reborn again and again, for the delight of all fans of first-class extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Grönskande gryning, Alyr i blom and Frö.

Worst moments of the album: Fagna sumrí.

Released in 2022 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Vårdträdet 2:40
2. Grönskande gryning 10:41
3. Alyr i blom 12:06
4. Befruktad jord 8:52
5. Solvigd 3:30
6. Frö 12:22
7. Fagna sumrí 4:11

Band members
L. – lead vocals
S. – guitar, bass, lyre, hurdy-gurdy, mouth harp, keyboards, bullroarer, birch trumpet, frame drums, birch sticks, stones, vocals

Guest musicians
H. – drums (session)
Andreas Pettersson – vocals
Êlea – vocals
Lars Magnar Enoksen – vocals

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