Bhleg Draumr Ast 01Bhleg are a two-piece black metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. That’s pretty much all the information I can gleam from their Facebook page and their label’s website, and they don’t have a page at Encyclopedia Metallum. One thing I did find from my research is that Bhleg is Proto-Indo-European for “to shine,” which totally threw off our jokes within the Angry Metal Guy castle, as we were wondering if “Meh,” “Hmmph,” and “*Indifferent Shoulder Shrug*” were all utilized for band names already. Sadly, considering their nine-song debut, Draumr Ást, calling themselves “Meh” wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

“Solkronan” comes in with an early Burzum trebly guitar riff that feels cold and very high-end. It’s also extremely repetitious, which is cool for about two minutes. The problem is this is a six-minute-plus song, and that’s what bogs things down here and on Draumr Ást as a whole, as there are about two riffs per song, with three for the more complex tunes. It wouldn’t be a problem if other instruments could be heard, as the guitars and vocals (performed by either J or S, it’s never clarified) are extremely high in the mix, and the drums are barely existent.

With so much repetition going on within this album, you would think some care would go into evoking an atmosphere, and it does succeed to a certain extent. Instrumental “Kosmos pulsådra” possesses an almost trippy, dreamlike vibe with its simplistic keyboard melody, sparse drumming, and a lone guitar playing simple power chords. Basic, but effective. “Alyr” uses an interesting, albeit buried, clean vocal chant recalling early Ulver to help break up the monotony. But other than these songs, it’s just the same one or two riffs played over and over, with very little variance to keep one’s attention intact. “Stjärnkartans väv” even borrows from the Burzum School of Casio Atmospherics for an ultimate test of patience, with only some soft drums to keep things somewhat interesting.

Bhleg Draumr Ast 02

One thing that could have helped Draumr Ást would be a better mix. Yes, I know early black metal was poorly mixed as all get-out, but usually the guitars had some variance and uniqueness to them. I was more interested in hearing the drums over anything else, as there were some curious patterns here. Sadly, they’re so hidden in the mix that you have to dig for them. They’ve also skillfully captured Metallica‘s epic bass tone from …And Justice For All. But the biggest beef I have is that there’s nothing here to sink you into Bhleg‘s blackened void, no draw to suck you into their vortex. It’s just Riff 1-Riff 2-Riff 1-odd break-Riff 2, wash, rinse, repeat.

Draumr Ást aims to be both spiritual and cosmic, and it ends up just being somnambulant and tiresome. Someone will claim this as a spiritual successor to the kvlt, trve days of yore, but most of us have moved on from that point. I just hope, for Bhleg‘s sake, they develop their craft a bit more for the next time around so they are not forgotten as well [Being forgotten is so kvlt!Steel Druhm].

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 275 kbps mp3
Label: Nordvis Produktion
Release Dates: EU: 2014.12.01 | NA: 12.09.2014

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  • Alexandre Barata

    Is it called Minimalist Black Metal already? They minimized everything!
    It sounds cool but the production is bad, really bad, I believe they might have gotten a sister’s hello kitty radio with mic to record this (The guitars sound as if they were recorded on a strange bathroom). Also, I agree that the same riff (and it isn’t a breath-taking one) played during almost 6 minutes it’s boring.
    Maybe next time then

  • JWG

    This little Light of mine, I’m gonna make it Bhleg.

    • Grymm

      Bhleg, little glow worm, glimmer (glimmer)…

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Bhleging bright like a diamond.

      • Grymm

        You are my sunBhleg, my only sunBhleg, you make me happy when skies are grey…

        • André Snyde Lopes

          Coincidentally, that is the intro to “Förtvivilan, min arvedel” by the swedish band Bleghing.

          PS: Another meme for the Angry Metal Meme Factory ™.

  • Doomdeathrosh

    Lets just say they tried…..thats it! I mean the riffs and compositional ideas are good, but a fridge aint good for recording!

  • Doomdeathrosh

    and whats with them making the cross in the pic? its like a picnic photo!

    • Grymm

      See, I thought they were mimicking the Village People, and got stuck at “Y”.

      • Doomdeathrosh

        that “Y” signifies their own doubts with their music!

  • That band press photo is amazing, but not as amazing as, “They’ve also skillfully captured Metallica‘s epic bass tone from …And Justice For All.”

    • Grymm

      Jason Newsted would be proud.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Agreed. Best shit ever.

  • Feytalist

    Been listening to the advance releases of the songs “Solkronan” and “Alyr” for a couple of days. I really quite like what they’re doing. Like the vocals, and the droning repetition, and even the awful production. Feels somewhat like a Skogen demo tape. Will have to see if the rest of the album is to my tastes.