By Dr. Abner Mality

I will cut right to the chase here. "H7" is the best combination of classic Norwegian black metal and pure thrash that I've  heard. When I heard that this was a one man BM band that named itself after an old Enslaved album, I had zero expectations for it. What I wound up with is one of the more surprising albums of the year.

Despite the one-man status, Blodhemn is no depressing bedroom BM crap. The album is crisp, sharply produced and exceedingly well written. The black metal sound predominates, but it is very riff-based and features some ripping thrash riffs mixed with the "true" stuff. At no point does this sound like a one man is fully realized across the board. With lyrics entirely in Norsk, "Flammens Virke" hits with the speed and freezing force of a winter hurricane. That got my attention right away, but "Slettet Av Tid" is a further revelation. Blodhemn's songs are long and involved...the way this one starts with black metal and then melts into an awesome thrash-inspired mid-section is outstanding! With "Evig Heder" and "Veiten", all bets are off...the former is catchy black/thrash that will have you headbanging furiously while "Veiten" again is longer and more complex, featuring some icy melodies.

The intensity drops with "Andenes Ansikt" which has a mid-paced groove. This one reminds me of Vreid a lot. "Fandesvenn" kicks things up again with another killer combo of black and thrash metal! This album just plain kicks ass and comes to a mighty conclusion with "Holmengraa", which has true Viking flavor and great "medieval" sounding riffs.

There are several albums every year which ambush me. "H7" is one of the best. You won't hear a better combination of thrash and black metal.