By Lord Randall

 The echolocation of bats. Uber-typical faux-Hammer horror intro. Some bloody trite “ritual” or ‘nother to make the listener feel like they’re part of something occult and exclusive. Nope, none of that to be found at the start of BHLEG’s sophomore release, “Solarmegin”, with peaceful birdsong, mellow acoustic and natural percussion of ‘Alvstrale’ calling us forth to worship of the golden sky-rider, the Sun.

 Not only an unexpected topic for a song, much less an album within the annals of standardly grimm and frostbitten black metal, the sprawling Solarmegin contains over an hour and a half of hymns to the Sun and its gifts to us. Those among us with more affinity for Fall/Winter need not feel bereft here, as the music within be exquisite within its poverty. The use of the word “poverty” in this context could more readily be called sparseness, for there are riches to be had throughout. While far from dense, there is a fullness to the sound of the TIAMAT-gone-rustic ‘Gudomlig Gronska’ and charred freneticism found in ‘Livslagans Flammande Sken’ that belies the brightness shining forth. Neither hippie-love-commune in ethos, nor goat-fondling in execution, Solarmegin is a downright anomaly, and our listening is the better for it. The latter of the two discs seems more “traditional” within the realm of folk/black metal, but even so, the subject matter alone lifts this album from the norm. 

As fine a work as 2014’s “Draumr Ast” was, I wasn’t prepared for “Solarmegin” and, even though the album came out in February, waited until the first hazy-humid days of Tennessee Summer to send in this review for timeliness’ sake. Ia Sol! Sumer is, indeed, Icumen In.