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Bhleg - Faghring

Bhleg
Faghring
by Phil Tyler at 12 April 2022, 5:33 PM

BHLEG (a Proto-Indo European word ‘To shine) are a Swiss Folk Metal duo who have now produced seven albums.  This is their fourth full-length and completes a tetralogy of albums related to the four seasons.

“Faghring” (Florescence) celebrates rebirth.

“After the blackest night comes the most radiant of dawns; the spark of life illuminates all that which was swallowed by shadows.”

Normally bands send promotion to say how this album is their best yet, so I was somewhat intrigued to get some history and thought behind BHLEG’s creative process.

The album starts with “Verdtradet”. A gentle acoustic guitar and tribal percussion makes for a calming intro before distorted guitar carries the percussion along. A simplistic riff carries the song forward and it ends with some background chanting.

“Gronskande Gryning” (meaning Green Dawn”) is an 11-minute track which continues with the background chanting over rattling drums before the scratchy Black Metal vocals from L kick in. I’m not the greatest fan of this vocal style but it is prominent in the mix. Sadly, all the lyrics are sung in Swiss so I couldn’t understand them. Black Metal vocals always sound like the vocalist is in some kind of pain or anguish and I don’t think the lyrics would reflect that. Also, when the vocals and distorted guitar kick in, the drums more rattle in the background than hit hard. At around the six-minute mark the intensity calms down with spoken vocals over a gentle acoustic guitar joined by tribal percussion. Then the chanting continues over a flurry of double-kick drums.

The next song starts as the last song ended and it is soon apparent that the album is just one long song as each track segues smoothly into the next.

“Alyr i Blom” has a more melodic guitar feel to it with lyre and tweeting birds (a prominent atmospheric tool on many of the tracks) joining tribal percussion around the 5-minute mark and ends on the same motif.

At this point I get the feeling that the album is meant to be a ritualistic tribal experience listened to in it’s entirety as the songs aren’t exactly ‘memorable’.

One of the highlights for me was the tranquil “Solvigd”  which starts with some high-pitched wailing over percussive stones and a tribal drum beat and then builds in gentle acoustic guitar. A really nice female vocal carries the song along and it’s a welcome change to the ferocity and intensity of the Black Metal vocals on some of the other tracks

“Fro” opens with a distorted version of the acoustic rhythm of the previous track, the Black Metal vocals make a return but the song ends with birdsong, what sounds like ‘drunk bees’  and a mournful lament which is quite depressing though nonetheless atmospheric.

The last track “Fagma Sumri” is more a mantra with chanting over some ritualistic percussion. You could imagine some monks carrying a dead body towards a grave in the forest. (Perhaps this signifies the death of Spring) and as the song ends on birdsong, the beginning of Summer as the cycle begins again.

BHLEG have certainly produced an interesting and atmospheric body of work. These are less songs than movements which have to be listened to as a whole and I think those of you who love the Black/Folk Metal vocal style would enjoy what is on offer here. It certainly forges its own path and takes you on a journey.

The drums are a bit too low in the mix and the rhythm guitar style does seem repetitive but there’s a lot of variety with the different instruments that S brings to the album and a lot of thought has clearly been given to the overall composition.

An interesting listening experience!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 8 (for the theme rather than the individual ‘songs’)
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Verdtradet
2. Grionskande Gryning
3. Alyr i Blom
4. Befruktad Jord
5. Solvigd
6. Fro
7. Fagna Sumri
Lineup:
S – Bass, Guitars, Drums, hurdy-gurdy, lyre, mouth harp, keyboards, bullroarer, birch trumpet, as well as percussion such as frame drums, birch sticks, and stones.
L – Vocals and lyrics
Record Label: Nordvis Produktions
     


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Edited 07 July 2022
 

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