ENSLAVED — Blodhemn

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ENSLAVED - Blodhemn cover
3.49 | 20 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1998

Filed under Black Metal


1. Intro "Audhumla: Birth of the Worlds" (1:11)
2. I lenker til ragnarok (5:39)
3. Urtical Gods (3:20)
4. Ansuz Astral (4:55)
5. Nidingaslakt (3:23)
6. Eit auga til Mimir (4:25)
7. Blodhemn (5:33)
8. Brisinghamen (3:32)
9. Suttungs mjød / Perkulator (7:47)

Total Time: 39:48


- Roy Kronheim / Guitars
- Ivar Bjørnson / Guitar, keyboards
- Dirge Rep / Drums
- Grutle Kjellson / Vocals, bass

About this release

Osmose Productions, 1998

Also released in a limited edition digipack.

Also available as a vinyl limited to 1000 handnumbered copies

Warning - Osmose CD presses from February 2001 up to around 2005 may contain a
copy-protection method which renders the CD completely unreadable in PCs and
certain modern Hi-Fi systems. This isn't indicated anywhere on the packaging.

Thanks to Prog Geo, UMUR for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Something happened on album #4 from Norway’s premiere progressive black metal band ENSLAVED. They actually had a retrograde. One of the things i love about this band is how they slowly ratchet themselves up progressively making each release a little bit more sophisticated than the rest for most of their career. Well, on BLODHEMN (Vengeance In Blood) we have a little step backwards in the quality department and although this is perfectly executed black metal in action, let’s face it. We’re talking about ENSLAVED here and substandard just doesn’t cut the mustard, but it doesn’t quite cut the cheese either. This is an example of a great band falling off a rung or two on the way up the ladder and even though this is probably my least favorite ENSLAVED album, it is by no means a five star example of suckdom. But neither is it one you will want to impregnate your iPod for the rest of your days. It is just OK. Nothing less, nothing more.

I think i nailed it with my black metal drummers critique on my review of “Eld.” They are essentially the backbone of everything black metal. Once again we have a change of guard on the drumming duties and we have an exit stage right (Heavens to Murgatroyd) from Harald Helgeson and is replaced by Dirge Rep (Per Husebø). There is a noticeable quality issue going on here. BLODHEMN just doesn’t seem as innovative, as tight nor as entertaining as any release prior or following, thus IMHO the nadir of ENSLAVED’s career, but keep in mind, this is ENSLAVED we’re talking about and even the lowest they can dip is still enough to float a ship. My least favorite album of theirs and probably the least that i go back to but this is by no means bad. Just not outstanding.

We can basically think of BLODSHEMN as the album where ENSLAVED got cold feet dipping into progressive waters and freaked friggin’ out and retreated back to black metal central. Yes, all the attributes of “Eld” still find their way on BODSHEMN but other than the typical second wave black metal a la Darkthrone on board here, the other aspects that were progressing the band have become subdued and overpowered, therefore unlike the previous album, this one seems totally UNbalanced . It is mostly a highly aggressive black metal attack with previous elements thrown in willy-nilly.

However, just as i start to feel this album is a total washout it redeems itself at the end. We get more clean vocal monk chanting, we get more folky distractions, we get more, well progressive leanings. ENSLAVED redeems themselves with BLODSHEMN by the time we finish this album but at the cost of the album feeling very rushed or mal-conceived or just not up to par with what came before and definitely not with what came after. So in short, BLODSHEMN is a nice follow up to “Eld” focusing on their Viking metal stance and all but just doesn’t quite cut the mustard in the progressive department. After all, they up their own ante many times and started a trend that they suddenly got all weirded out about, but have no fear! After this album things only get better. Much better in fact. While i find this the least enchanting ENSLAVED album in their discography is still so worth having. I mean how can you own all the rest and have this deleted from the collection?!! Seriously, bad in comparison to other ENSLAVED albums but still pretty good on the world’s stage.
Conor Fynes
'Blodhemn' - Enslaved (6/10)

After a fairly lukewarm experience with Enslaved's third album 'Eld', 'Blodhemn' comes to my arrives with this fan already somewhat shaken. Before 'Eld', I was under the impression that Enslaved could do no wrong, and while it was not necessarily a bad album, I found myself oddly unenthused by it. Enslaved's fourth album 'Blodhemn' then may be a step back from 'Eld' in terms of the band's style development, but it functions better as an album. Sounding more like the band's second album 'Frost' more than anything, 'Blodhemn' is something of a return to form, although the quality of the music is still not yet back up to par with the band's earlier studio output.

With the exception of a spacey introductory soundscape, 'Blodhemn' is unrelenting, violent, and abrasive, much like one would come to expect from the Norwegian black metal scene. What makes this a bit of a surprise to hear is that this album comes after a highly ambitious record which featured sixteen minute long epics, folkish instrumentation, and some attempts at clean vocals. Not all of the Viking metal sound is abandoned here, but black metal has taken enough of a forefront here to mark a considerable change in sound. While whether someone likes this or not is very much up to their genre preference, it does feel as if Enslaved make a more enjoyable and lasting impression with the black metal and folky material over the anthem-based music.

The highlight here is quite possibly the last track for me, which manages to hint at some of the complexity that would be furthered touched upon with the band's fifth record 'Mardraum'. The songwriting here is possibly the weakest aspect of 'Blodhemn' however, rarely making a really memorable impact and instead feeling like a few really interesting ideas are tossed amidst other recycled ones and glued together into songs which can be fairly hit-or-miss at times. In any case, Enslaved manage to make the record a good one through their fiery performance, which here may lack subtlety or detail, but gets raw power and atmosphere across quite nicely.

'Blodhemn' is yet another fairly straightforward and somewhat underwhelming release from Enslaved, although certainly enjoyable, and surely indicative of the band's obvious distinction in the Norwegian black metal scene. Niched between two highly ambitious and stylistic works from the band, 'Blodhemn' does feel a tad unnecessary in the overall scope of the band's career, but for someone looking for a more raw approach to the music of Enslaved, 'Blodhemn' is a nice supplement to the rawness they mastered with 'Frost'.
Enslaved finally decided to produce an album professionally and it pays. This is Frost revisited with a blasting production: raw, crisp, sharp but also well balanced and powerful.

After the Nordic epic black metal of Eld, Enslaved returned to the shorter and more furious format of their defining album Frost. As with all the best of black metal, the music has a big majestic impact bound to entrance you with its relentless drone. The extremely aggressive Urtical Gods serves as an example and will bludgeon everyone who cares to listen with an open mind.

As an album this suffers from the well know metal syndrome called “Hey that sounds cool! Let’s do that trick on every bar of every song we write on all our albums”. This makes most tracks unnecessary except for a few gems like the mentioned Urtical Gods, Eit Auga Til Mimir, Blodhemn and the epic Nordic folk of Suttings Mjod.

After the next album, Enslaved grew into a progressive black metal unit that will be more pleasing to the prog oriented audiences. For me, they lost something in the process. Especially on Ruun and Vertebrae Enslaved lost their edge somewhat in the next decade. Well they have lots of edge to make up for that! The next album Mardraum would loosen things a bit and perfect this style.

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