Hailing initially from the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, Blot & Bod are a trio that are part of the Korpsånd community, heavily supported by the label Fallow Field (and including loud-sound armies like Gabestok, Ærekær, Hollow Hand, War Is Aer, Afkald and many more sweet Danish combos…). The band consists of the brothers Erik (drums, vocals, song writing) and Jesper (guitars, vocals, song writing, recording, mix, mastering) Bagger Hviid, and Norwegian bass player Jøran Elvestad. In early 2017, Blot & Bod released their first demo release, independently available via digital sources, and released on tape via higher mentioned Fallow Field. Soon after, the Hviid brothers started writing new material, and as a trio, they did record a first full-length album, called Ligæder. It was released, once again, independently by the band itself the digital way, you know, their Bandcamp-profile, as well as on cassette, once again via Fallow Field, and this being done somewhere half of October 2017.
Seen the quality of this material, and because of a certain intelligence when it comes to heavy yet inspiring Music, Iron Bonehead Productions’ head offices decided to have this material put on vinyl too. The 12” LP gets released in a limited edition (though I do not know the exact number of official copies that will be pressed), including cool, inspiring cover artwork by Danish artist Morten Damsgaard (he did create some visual art as for, for example, Lesion and Demon Head). Great job!
The album is built around a concept, the extremes of light and dark, the balance of life and death, enriched by, and based on the Nordic mythology of Old. The opening track and the outro, for example, represent Huginn and Muginn, Odin’s ravens, and this is a first example of the contrasts.
Ligæder, I am sure, will be a love-it-or-hate-it album. It opens with a fine intro, Kom I Hu, which is, just like the outro Erindring, an instrumental Ambient piece: martial, orchestral, obscure and heroic. Not too lengthy, not too catchy, not filled with clichés, so to my modest opinion it is like an eye-catcher, or better: an ear-catcher. But the real stuff starts as from the second title, Ul. The album brings extremely raw and low-profiled Black Metal with a sound so unpolished and rough. I come back to this immediately.
First the performance. Well, I think the song writing is primal and primitive, but I love it! It goes back to the essence of warlike Black Metal for sure. Besides, there is a fine interplay, very subtle, in between specific approaches. You have those intense parts with that aggressive, fast-forward victory attitude. Overwhelming buzzsaw riffs and melodies attack and kill! In an organic way, this interacts with some more punkish and grooving excerpts, almost of the thrashing Black’n’Roll kind. It is great to feel the punky energy going on. Then you have some more epic pieces with a heathen attitude, naturally penetrating the aforementioned approaches, as if everything is one sole entity (and it is), and besides some slower, almost doomed, ultra-dark fragments that destroy any last light. This diversity in play and speed is a surplus, because of the heaviness and, as mentioned, the rawness of the production (see further).
Another element of variation is the vocal use. Since both brothers collaborate vocally (I am not sure whether Jøran chants too), you have that expected variety. The better part consists of ultra-hoarse, abyssal deep screaming grunts, spawning venom and acid, breathing sulphur clouds. Another vocal appearance has to do with raw, thrashing yells, increasing the anthemic character of this band’s compositions.
The production is extremely rugged and ragged. The guitar lines have that buzzing sound, and hey, I do not complain about that. There are many bands that use this kind of noise to make their material more uncomfortable, and why not anyway. But people might have a problem with the mix especially, and I cannot disagree. The buzz-sound guitar play depreciates the bass lines, the cymbals overpower the drums, and the background noise might be an irritating element. I like it rough, at least when talking about uncompromising old styled Black Metal, but this sound quality is way too inferior, unfortunately. Some more equilibrium within the final mix, and a better production (not too much, just a little, yet at least a teeny-weeny improvement might end up in a wonderfully more elegant result.
I am pretty sure that those who like their meat still bloody and their whisky undiluted, will appreciate this effort. Honestly, it has many elements that define the essence of raw, unpolished Black Metal from the most grim and evil pits of the underworld. In that case, ignore the rotten sound and praise the one-eyed one (or the horned one, that’s up to you). I think you must give it a try. And let’s offer a sacrifice to have a better production yet at least as inspiring and convincing stuff next time!