Band – Hekseblad

Album – Kaer Morhen

Country of Origin – USA

Genre – Black Metal

Release Date – April 19, 2024

Label – Hypnotic Dirge Records

Author – Hayduke X


Today, I am honored to present the final pre-release single The Taste of Ash from the upcoming debut full-length “Kaer Morhen” by the USBM duo Hekselblad. I have a theory about the number four spot on an eight-ten track album, which is where this track falls. To me, the track placed here tells me a lot about whether the album is a few bangers and a bunch of filler, or if the album is more likely to be full of excellence. You see, I think track four is often where the filler starts to show up in the former type of album. The Taste of Ash is a strong indicator that “Kaer Morhen” falls in the latter category (more on that below). Strong, mournful riffs populate the battlefield of this five-ish minute piece, making it a good indicator of what is to come. Check it out, then read on for my full review.




Last night, my adult son loaned me his copy of The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, one of the books in “The Witcher” series by the Polish author (though actually a collection of short stories, according to Wikipedia). This morning, I cracked it open and managed to read four pages over breakfast before other duties called me away. Those were the first four pages I’ve ever read of “The Witcher” saga, but my introduction to the mythology actually came through the Fólkvangr Records (R.I.P.) release of “The Fall of Cintra” by the black metal duo Hekseblad. Fun fact: another owner of a small label actually bought me the cassette after seeing my interest on Facebook and then added it to an assortment of releases from his own label, which he sent as part holiday gift and part introductory promotional package. I have also watched an episode or two of “The Witcher” series on Netflix, but have been fairly unimpressed thus far. All of this storytelling is really to say two things: I’m fairly unfamiliar with the lore of “The Witcher;” My favorite “Witcher” themed entity is (so far) the band Hekseblad, and it’s not close.


Understandably, given the quality of “The Fall of Cintra” (an excellent EP worth checking out, if you haven’t already), I’m beyond excited for “Kaer Morhen,” the debut full-length by the USBM duo. Though there are only three tracks streaming so far, I have of course been fortunate enough to have a promo copy of the entire album, and it is majestic. Equal parts enlivening and ominous, the duo paints a tapestry of mythological battle using the palette of ancient masters (which is to say second wave bands such as Emperor, Dissection, Gorgoroth and Obtained Enslavement, especially). Strong, memorable riffs weave through a dynamic combat zone of pacing and precision, with confident vocal work layered throughout.


Vocalist Bruxa (also from Witch’s Amulet, Fanged Imp, Bruxa, and Oaken Palace) is the Michigan half of Hekesblad. Bruxa also handles the lore and storytelling for the project. Hailing from Massachusetts, Frosk handles all the instrumental work for the duo. Together they create a swirling vortex of second wave worshiping, melodic, sometimes symphonic black metal, with occasional hints of folk influences to boot. Unlike some bands who throw a bunch of influences at the wall to see what sticks, Hekselblad uses each influence as a precision tool to embellish their unique, powerful vision.


It’s fair to say that I love “The Fall of Cintra.” The 2021 EP is still a regular in my rotation. “Kaer Morhen” however, blows it completely out of the water. This debut album makes the earlier EP seem like a testing ground for ideas, with the latest the actual full vision of the band. At my undergrad college, there was a small structure dubbed the Mistake House, where architect Bernard Maybeck tried a bunch of different techniques and mediums to help prepare himself for the full design of the dorms and school buildings on campus. The structure is strange, but pretty cool and very functional. If “The Fall of Cintra” corresponds with the Mistake House, then “Kaer Morhen” is the full campus design. Maybeck became a world renowned architect and visitors tour the campus just to see the structures he designed. In the case of Hekseblad, The EP and the new album are both also worthy of your notice. Do not sleep on this one. I’m confident I’ll be talking about it again at the end of the year.

The album can be pre-order on LP and CD from the Hypnotic Dirge Bandcamp or Webstore.





Biography:  Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. He is also a contributor to The Metal Wanderlust. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B Productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.