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Even though they aren’t as well-known as some of their peers, Blodsrit have been amongst the very best of the Swedish black metal scene since the release of their third album, 2004′s excellent Helveteshymner. Hinterland marks their fifth full-length since they started of in 1998, and a remarkable departure from the raw sound found on their earlier efforts.
Like twice before the cover is adorned with great artwork from Lorenzo Mariani, featuring birds of prey, enchanting women, and images of death, which with its earthly color gives me connotations to shamanism and mythology. The introduction track features a groove-driven bass line and raspy vocals, setting an infernal and apocalyptic mood. Then the title track follows, and surprisingly it sounds more like Enslaved around Below The Lights than the chaotic misanthropy I usually link to Blodsrit. The bass takes on the main role, which is remarkable for such an underground band, while the guitars add melodic and atmospheric layers, and the all too familiar growls become rather anonymous in the mix.
The following track “Revolutionary Warfare” is even less conventional, adhering to an at times viking metal style, more defined by its melodies than pure force and brutality. That being said, it feels necessary to note that the lyrical content still tends to lean more towards the destruction of Christianity than honoring Norse Gods, so don't go fetch your helmet and broadsword just yet. However, “Sverige” even features a short guitar solo and some clean vocals (tastefully done, mind you), which will throw off the most narrow-minded fans, but should serve as a captivating display of progression to the rest of us. As the tracks go by the music seems to become more and more melodic, reaching epic proportions towards the last few tracks, and as it culminates in the eminent “Jordisk Dvala Och Andlig Död” it feels like we're watching a band evolve before our eyes and ears. The entire affair reaches closure with a somewhat upbeat guitar-driven outro, birds chirping, and a despairing voice crying “Vakna!” (“Awaken!”), that I swear I've heard before in a Diagnose: Lebensgefahr track.
It’s comforting to observe that even a little known band like Blodsrit can allow themselves to progress while still maintaining a consistently high quality throughout their career. I would never have expected these guys to feature female vocals (found at the ending of “Rasa”), but somehow they make it work without becoming overwrought and boring. Personally I still prefer Helveteshymner to this undoubtedly more refined album, but there is no reason to avoid Hinterland unless you're terrified of the slightest change of style.
Written for The Metal Observer
Since I first heard Blodsrit, many years ago, on some MP3 site, I was hooked. Young and fairly new to the black metal scene I didn’t have much to compare them to, but I was really into it. So over the years I’ve heard them develop a whole lot, and with Hinterland I’m not really sure how to judge it. They’ve still got a melodic edge as they introduced us to on Ocularis infernum, but mixing it in with the rawer sound as heard on The well of light has finally dried. And if I’m not mistaken it’s the first time they’ve used an organ and clean female vocals.
These Swedish lads have got that really old school touch, sometimes reminding me of Elite, but they’re definitely not in lost of melody and intricate twists. The shrieks of Naahz cuts through your soul, and he sounds so bloody grim, like a 200 year old ghost coming back to haunt and destroy. I absolutely love the vocals, which are sometimes backed up by clean choruses that are hard to resist, and soon you’ll find yourself singing along. Fairly intricate guitar work, although still quite straight-forward. It can be raging speed and angst-ridden breakdowns, but they never lose any of their brutality and chilling atmosphere.
It’s a bit difficult to explain, but Blodsrit manage to sound both rough and old school, but at the same time it’s melodic and clean. It’s quite a unique talent they’ve got, which definitely makes them leaders of the pack. I really love the end of Rasa, when the acoustic guitar and female vocals sets in, as it gives it such a sad aura. And that sadness is then transferred into The last moans of hope. But I’d still have to say that Sverige is my favourite track on here – it has such killer riffing and chorus, and here Naahz’ screaming really lets go. But to sum it all up this is one kick-arse album! And once again Lorenzo Mariani have created some wicked artwork for this mean band.
Originally written for www.mylastchapter.net