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Catchy and Very Enjoyable - 85%

Satanic_Shoe, August 9th, 2008

For over 15 years, Enslaved have shown the metal community that they are one of the superior black metal bands out there; even before their more "progressive phase", Enslaved were bringing originality to the table in large helpings. Blodhemn - meaning "vengeance in blood" - is no exception.

Blodhemn at first may seem like a typical black metal album: rapid tremelo-picked riffs, inaudible bass, spastic drumming, supplemental synths, and shrieked (and sung) vocals, but the album's true colors will grow on the listener.

The album begins with a brief, entirely synthesized, spacey introduction before letting loose the heaviness. Before one knows it, catchy-ass riffs and relentless drumming are swarming by. The guitars are gnawing and catchy - "Anuz Astral" and "An Eye for Mimir" are especially catchy. The drumwork is fast, aggresssive, and largey repetetive, but well-done nonetheless. The vocals are excellently done, ranging from larynx-shredding shrieks to soothing melodic singing, which, combined with the catchy riffs, give off a very "Viking" feel in some songs, particularly on "An Eye for Mimir" and "In Chains Until Ragnarok". And the syths are barely present, but add to the music substantially when used, and the bass largely inaudible. The album slows down considerably on the slow, doomy, melodic closing track "Suttung's Mead", starting with a slow, melancholy riff, overlapped with soothingly sung, almost chanted, vocals, before crashing down on the listener with a slow, plodding, doomy transition, and fading out as noise sounding much like wind blowing against flags, ending the album on a calm and relaxing note.

Aside from rather poor production value (which may not be a bad thing for many listeners), Blodhemn is nearly flawless and a top-notch black metal album, and definitely worth whatever expense one may pay for it - especially for black metal fans.