Album Review: Hekseblad – Kaer Morhen


Do you like your black metal dripping with malice and inspired by the witcher? Yes? Correct! well then strap in as Hekseblad, Fresh off a run of successful EP releases and a well-received Split (w/ Vér and Nachtheir) unveils their debut full-length Kaer Morhen

Comprising of members Bruxa, a vocalist and songwriter from Michigan handling the lore and storytelling of the duo’s music (Witch’s Amulet, Fanged Imp, Bruxa, Oaken Palace) & Frosk (Frog Mallet, Groaning Retch), a multi-instrumentalist and Studio owner from Massachusetts handling guitars, bass and the entire production process.  From previous releases to this debut, the flourishes of symphonic sorcery have manifested on a level that is frankly outstanding.

Album opener School of the Wolf is a majestic blend of NWOBHM and swirling ferocity that really opens up the lore of The Order of Witchers and the construction of the title of the album Kaer Morhen. This is followed by Grain of Truth (Nivellin’s Waltz) The cursed man of Medina gets a wonderfully placed instrumental section among the frozen ferocity which I just adored


Moving onto The White Flame has a plethora of gothic nods reminiscent of Nox Arcana whereas The Taste of Ash will send any  ’90s black metal fan into absolute raptures, the sheer amount of talent is sickening, I haven’t been able to stop playing this track and was the reason the physical version was preordered before I even finished listening to the album!

Ithlinne’s Prophecy continues on the album’s story with a tale of the prediction made by the elven prophetess Ithlinne, of a global cooling that will bring about the end of the world before title track Kaer Morhen takes a central position, laden with dungeon synth soundscapes and lingering solos.

For an album that so far has been no stranger to savagery  Master Crafted seems to aiming for the title of most intense, and after hearing it in its entirety it is hard to disagree, The Fall of the Northern Realms brings forth images of harsh unforgiving turmoil and given the albums subject matter and aesthetic feels like the albums most on-point track in regards to authenticity.

Sodden has an absolutely outstanding accompanying music video which just leaves Vatt’ghern – Witcher in the Nilfgaardian language is far from a short instrumental outro and more of a final showcasing of maturity and musical prowess that even if you went all the way back to 2441 BR you would be hard pressed to find anything so complex.


Kaer Morhen will be released via Hypnotic Dirge Records


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