“Valfreiya” is the debut album by the Swedish band HILD and the result of the creative mind of Lars Brodesson best known for being the drummer who recorded the EP “Iron Dawn” and the albums “Wormwood” and “Serpent Sermon” with the iconic Marduk and for being the session drummer for the bands Black Altar and Funeral Mist. This first full length is being released by “Odium Records” and consists of twelve tracks of a very well amalgamated mix of Black Metal, Thrash and Crust and that Lars himself decided to define very well as “Violent Swedish Metal”. It is very interesting to observe how he managed to keep the compositions short, easy to listen, simple, raw, direct, with that “punch in the face” energy and at the same time drenched in complexity with many rhythmic variations and an immense range of details not only in the drums but also in the guitar lines with its multiplicity picking styles and insertions of more melodic lines in surgical points that do not diminish in any moment the extremely violent soundscape that all the songs emanate. In fact, one thing that surprised me a lot in “Valfreiya” was all the fury and destructive connotation that the compositions manage to make you feel because at a first superficial observation the song titles can give you the false impression that this project is something more “soft and spiritual”. Well, according to the mentor of the project “HILD, meaning battle/strife, is a war and battle themed project centered around the Valkyries of Nordic mythology. Each song named after, and honoring, a specific Valkyrie, channeling their respective traits” which means that Nordic mysticism really is embedded in every chord this album is built upon, but reading some of the lyrics you realize there seems to be a filter. of violence that distills it all into pure hate and the result of this is that “Valfreiya” musically becomes the perfect soundtrack for a genocidal mass murder!! I’m not kidding, songs like the fast “Wodurida”, the sensational “Hrist” with its catchy chorus, Hlökk with its more melodic guitar lines and the destructive “Rota” with its “drunken Lemmy drowning in his own blood” vocals. would be perfect to listen to while you were waiting for the hecatomb that would come after pressing the button that launched the nuclear missiles on the world. Some tracks have a much more pronounced Thrash Metal inspiration such as the great “Skögul which has some Slayer style riffs “Gondul” which in some passages brought to mind the Italian Bulldozer and the aforementioned “Wodurida” which has some riffs in the vein of the late Massacra. But the biggest highlight for me is the track “Sanngrithr” because, damn it, it’s a real curse…. The first time I heard it I hated it, maybe because its extravagant rhythmic oddities can cause a certain strangeness and make this song somehow clashes a little with the rest of the compositions, but the fact is that on the second listen this track had already made a strong impression on my brain and I found myself doing my everyday things with it playing in loop in my head and now it became one of the best compositions on “Valfreiya” for me. I want to interview Lars and try to find out what he was thinking when he composed this heavy sonic drug. A beautiful cover art and an excellent and powerful production crown this great release.
From what I saw , at the moment Lars has a complete line up for this project so we will most likely (I hope so) see some HILD performances, something that is certainly interesting as the songs on “Valfreiya” should sound even more overwhelming live. A great first album by a band that has all the ingredients needed to become a bigger name on the scene. If I recommend it? Totally, of course.