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

Album Review – Mustasch / A Final Warning – Chapter One EP (2021)

Celebrating 20 years since their first record was released, these Swedish rockers are inviting us all to hit the dance floor to the sound of their new EP.

3.0rating

mustasch-a-final-warning-chapter-one-ep-2021With their straightforward and uncompromising attitude, Gothenburg, Sweden-based Heavy Metal/Hard Rock squad Mustasch is ready to celebrate 20 years since their first record was released now in 2021 with two new EP’s, the first being A Final Warning – Chapter One, followed by A Final Warning – Chapter Two (to be released in October). Comprised of Ralf Gyllenhammar on vocals and guitar, David Johannesson on lead guitar, Stam Johansson on bass and Robban Bäck on drums, Mustasch started way back in 1998 and have quickly become one of the most important Hard Rock bands of the Swedish scene, provoking many and having their music loved by many more, leading the band to win two Swedish Grammys so far in their career.  In A Final Warning – Chapter One, the band sounds more incendiary and melodic than ever, offering fans 20 minutes of pure Mustasch and, therefore, leaving us all eager for the second part of their celebrations later this year.

Without further ado, it’s time to ignite your rockin’ engines to the sound of the sharp riffs by Ralf and David and the rumbling bass by Stam in A Final Warning, blending the heaviness of classic Hard Rock with modern nuances and epic background effects, whereas going back to the golden years of pure Heavy Metal the quartet fires the metallic extravaganza Contagious, where Robban kicks some ass on drums while Ralf declaims the song’s lyrics with tons of energy and aggressiveness. Then investing in a more modern version of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll we have Albert Einstein, again showcasing classic, in-your-face guitar riffs while Ralf delivers a mix of System Of a Down and The Cult through his enraged vocals. Stam’s bass brings the groove to the dancing and sexy You Are Killing Me, and you better get ready to bang your heads nonstop together with the quartet as Ralf steals the spotlight on vocals accompanied by Robban’s crushing beats; followed by Searching for Long Range Communication, sounding as if it was taken from a 70’s action movie. In other words, it’s sheer Rock N’ Roll with Stam and Robban jamming like there’s no tomorrow until the melancholic and smooth outro To Be Continued puts an end to the EP.

mustasch-2021You can hit the dance floor by listening to the full EP on Spotify, but of course in order to show your support to the guys from Mustasch you should purchase your copy of the EP from the Sound Pollution webstore, from Napalm Records, from Season of Mist, from Apple Music or from Amazon. In addition, don’t forget to follow those unstoppable Swedish rockers on Facebook and on Instagram, getting to know more about the band and warming up your senses for their upcoming EP. Will Mustach outdo themselves in the next chapter of A Final Warning? Stay tuned for the wild conclusion this October, my friends!

Best moments of the album: Contagious and You Are Killing Me.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Tritonus Records

Track listing
1. A Final Warning 5:03
2. Contagious 3:01
3. Albert Einstein 3:25
4. You Are Killing Me 3:52
5. Searching for Long Range Communication 3:49
6. To Be Continued 1:28

Band members
Ralf Gyllenhammar – lead vocals, guitar
David Johannesson – lead guitar
Stam Johansson – bass
Robban Bäck – drums

Album Review – Bhleg / Ödhin (2021)

One of Sweden’s most talented extreme music duos returns with six epic tracks of pure channeling of forceful darkness in their third full-length opus.

Inevitable, as the spreading twilight and turmoil when the blackness of winter swallows the sun, the massive and multi-layered Ödhin, the third full-length album by Swedish Black/Folk Metal act Bhleg, sweeps the world with icy winds and drowns it in the beautiful colors of the night. Enswathed in ancient Scandinavian wisdom, this blackened metal offering muses on the endtimes, as the Norns’ twines of fate have never resounded clearer or with more vigor. Hailing from Västra Götaland, a county or län on the western coast of Sweden, Bhelg are a musical and spiritual journey spearheaded by vocalist L. and multi-instrumentalist S. that began in 2007, but which would not take shape until 2013, having released their debut opus Draumr Ást in 2014 and their sophomore effort Solarmegin in 2018. However, it’s now in 2021 that the duo, supported by session drummer A., sounds sharper than ever, offering in Ödhin six epic tracks of pure channeling of forceful darkness, showcasing vicious outbursts of savagery, reflective moments of melancholy and a primal strength with roots in all three worlds, mesmerizing us with a message as ancient as time that, in the end, our fate shall come for us all.

Obscure vociferations emerge from the pits of the underworld in the raw and epic Vyss, where A. delivers top-notch, old school Black Metal blast beats while S. hammers his stringed weapons mercilessly, all of course boosted by the demonic gnarls by L.; and continuing their darkened path of Folk and Black Metal we’re treated to Alyr III, another bold and dense extravaganza thoroughly crafted by L. and S., with endless epicness and melancholy flowing from all background elements (not to mention its atmospheric, acoustic passages). Then it’s time to wake up and join Bhleg in the eerie, cryptic interlude Gyllene Gal (or “golden gal” in English), tailored for embracing your soul and captivate your senses, albeit a bit too long, before the band comes crushing once again in Slukad Sol (“swallowed sun”), with A. pounding his drums in great fashion while S. keeps extracting razor-edge, piercing riffs form his guitar, resulting in a vicious onrush of Blackened Folk Metal that will please all fans of the genre. Moreover, L. is once again bestial with his enraged roars, making this marvelous musical voyage offered to us by such talented Swedish horde even more gripping. It’s impressive how they’re capable of blending the fury of Black Metal with the epic ambience and all acoustic and tribal elements from Folk Metal, which is exactly the case in the multi-layered tune Ödet (“fate”), whereas minimalist acoustic guitars permeate the air in the pensive outro Drömmen Om Vårdträdet (“the dream of the memorial tree”), where the subtle sound of the bitterly cold wind puts a beautiful ending to the album.

There are countless places where you can put your dirty hands on such amazing album of Black and Folk Metal, such as Bhleg’s own BandCamp page, the Nordvis Produktion webstore, the Sound Pollution webstore, Season of Mist, Napalm Records, Nuclear Blast, EMP, Apple Music, Amazon, and so on. As you can see, there’s no excuse to not support such talented underground act, and you can also follow them on Facebook and stream more of their music on Spotify to get even more immersed in their obscure, folk-infused realm. And until our fate comes for us all, we have a very good reason to keep banging our heads to the sound of Bhleg’s undisputed music.

Best moments of the album: Vyss and Slukad Sol.

Worst moments of the album: Gyllene Gal.

Released in 2021 Nordvis Produktion

Track listing
1. Vyss 9:16
2. Alyr III 8:56
3. Gyllene Gal 5:12
4. Slukad Sol 10:18
5. Ödet 8:36
6. Drömmen Om Vårdträdet 4:34

Band members
L. – lead vocals
S. – guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals

Guest musician
A. – drums (session)