Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Bhleg - Aril

I have to admit - I was not previously familiar with Bhleg. However, I was previously familiar with their label, Nordvis Produktion however. They are one of my favorites in the underground and the sort of label who I make a point of checking out everything they put out. In a crowded scene I think it's these sort of label connections that make it worthwhile in the long run. Point being - Bhleg play folk metal, are from Sweden and generally kill it with their new 28 minute long LP, Aril a release that takes the listener on a thrilling sonic journey.

There is a depth to the sound on Aril that keeps me almost obsessed. Even now as I sit on my third or fourth listen the sort of droning magic of the record has me mesemrized. The band very much pull from second wave of black metal tropes but strip them back so that when the folk stuff is layered on top you get something wholly different. Bhleg are band that are wholly their own, grandiose, powerful and unafraid to try to change the world. The artsy magic of these songs speaks to the depth of the songwriting. The traditionally inspired passages merge perfectly with the more black metal derived portions making for a compelling listening experience.

Aril is a release that hints at mastery. While at times the execution is lacking and the production is a bit bare bones, that is as much a part of its charms as it is a part of its failings. Bhleg are sort of the logical continuation on a lot happening in black metal right now, however they haven't reached the level of refinement to craft something truly great. Still - for those of us obsessed with pagan rites, earthy sounds and returning to our roots then the folky black metal majesty of Bhleg is something to stay deeply connected with.

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