This album by Norwegian legends ENSLAVED is what you could consider their last "normal" album. The music presented here is still good old Black Metal in the typical ENSLAVED-vein, albeit a little different from their old classics as "Vikingligr Veldi" and "Frost". The albums after this are a lot more experimental and sometimes bordering on Black Metal.
Back to this "Blodhemn" then; like many other bands, there is the standard synth intro, luckily a short one now after which the listener is presented with brutal Black Metal. Not like the old Norse style of DARKTHRONE or IMMORTAL. But a more technical approach, where a little Death Metal technique shines through in the riffs. The overall feeling is still Black Metal, the hymnic background choirs certainly help with this and they also give a slight epic touch to this brutal barrage. Vocal wise there is the typical scream. Also, there are some keyboards, but their use is limited and even people who prefer their Metal without keys, won't be bothered by them. In the outro, before the guitars start, they sound minimalistic; creating a dark mysterious aesthetic that finishes the album real good, also the tempo is turned down here a bit.
One of the greatest songs on the album is the mighty and majestic "Eit Auga Til Mimir". With a superior epic riff, supported by a relentless blastbeat; mixed with great vocals and background hymns it will take you back to the Viking Age for sure! As will the rest of the album, but I feel this song is the best example of it. Many songs on the albums have a short guitar solo in it, which adds a lot to the atmosphere because they sound really emotional compared to the cold technical riffs.
The album is not very long, a little less than 40 minutes and sounds even shorter because of the very high speed. I generally like long albums, but with a speed this high; a length like this fits the album perfectly, for it would go on longer the listener might get bored.
To conclude, a great album, with a good atmosphere, while the riffs sound pretty original. I would recommend this album to most Black Metal fans, for the music is both brutal and melodic. ENSLAVED fans who don't own this can pick it up as well, although the atmosphere here is in a different way Nordic sounding then on its predecessors and not at all as experimental as its successors like "Mardraum" and "Below The Lights". (Online March 7, 2005)