Former Marduk drummer, Lars Broddesson, had the idea for his Hild project when enjoying a summer stroll in the magical Swedish countryside. He knew he had to get home to write the thrash metal music in his head without overthinking it. Just unleash the energy and see how it turns out. The only discipline he imposed was the timing of the song – it had to be two-minutes in length. Within a month he had a dozen songs, all of them flowing from his mind with the same spontaneity and a determination to limit their creation process to no more than seven hours per composition. What Lars describes might be symptoms of hypomania, but he feels a divine hand behind the intense excitement that sparked his creative juices. ValFreiya is the product of a mania that his ancestors felt in the euphoria of battle. In his words, this is violent Swedish metal.
If providence guided ValFreiya, it also bestowed him with an expert understanding how to fuse thrash, hardcore and blackened crust metal into a blend of noise and blood. The title track starts with a raw piece of thrash from 1985 with a better guitar tone and a cleaner drum mix. You can imagine Slayer playing something like this in the unlikely event of a return to the recording studio, yet you’ll also hear the Dead Kennedys in the strange rock ‘n’ roll swing of the middle eight. Lars handles all instruments but has a group of trusted lieutenants behind him for future live shows. We’re in for a treat if they can recreate the vigour of ‘Göndul’ and ‘Hrist’ on a live stage. The former is too murderous to qualify as blackened thrash; the latter dares to contemplate a hard rock angle underneath the fast chugs of the rhythm guitar. Swap the vocals around and you’d think this was the latest Cage Fight album. How does Lars pick his strings with such speed and precision in the iconic ‘Sting of the Bumblebee’ method? Ask Dave Mustaine.
Twelve songs of absurd thrash metal bludgeoning would be most welcome, and you’d expect Lars to ignore the need for variation given his track record as a member of the washing machine black metal purveyors, Marduk. Yet the hypomania blessed him with different shades and textures for his creative impulses. The military snares and heroic guitar harmonising of ‘Hlökk’ give way to a blast of hardcore terror that Nails and Power Trip would be proud to own in their back catalogue. Your blood temperature levels rise during the frantic riffing of ‘Herfjötur’ and force you to ask if this could go off the rails at any moment. Lars is like a screaming Lemmy Kilmister on ‘Skögul’ with Kreator as his backing band. ‘Rota’ goes far beyond thrash and into the whirlwind dissonance of Voivod. And let’s not forget his drum skills. The snare action on closing track, ‘Thrudr’, is violent enough to bring down the Øresund Bridge.
ValFreiya is a tribute to the Valkyrie (female host) who guides the dead of the battlefield to Odin’s Valhalla. She also decides which heroes should enjoy the afterlife in her own hall of immortality. Seldom can you hear the lyrics through Lars’ shouting gullet, but his one-take vocals bristle with a feverish desire to experience the felicity of a warrior’s retirement paradise. Sometimes, it’s brutish and uncouth, just as the battlefield is no place of refinement. The twenty-six minutes of audio turmoil are exactly what you need to remind you of the life beyond tomorrow’s economic outlook and the necessity of earning money to pay rent. Those things mean nothing to a warrior soul.
Release Date: 07/10/2022
Record Label: Odium Records
Standout tracks: ValFreiya, Hrist, Sanngrithr
Suggested Further Listening: Prayers of Sanity – Doctrine of Misanthropy (2021), Misfire – Sympathy for the Ignorant (2022), Enforced – Kill Grid (2021)