Jan Axel Blomberg

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Jan Axel Blomberg
Mayhem - Jalometalli 2008 - Hellhammer 01 crop.JPG
Hellhammer live at Jalometalli 2008
Background information
Also known asHellhammer
Born (1969-08-02) 2 August 1969 (age 53)
Trysil, Norway
Genres Unblack metal , Black metal , death metal , symphonic black metal , power metal , heavy metal
Years active1987–present
Member of Mayhem, Age of Silence, Arcturus, Mezzerschmitt, Mortem, Winds
Formerly of The Kovenant, Troll, Den Saakaldte, Shining, Dimmu Borgir, Antestor (session)

Jan Axel Blomberg (born 2 August 1969) is a Norwegian heavy metal drummer known professionally as Hellhammer. [1] He is best known as the drummer of Mayhem, which he joined in 1988. In 1987 Blomberg formed the avant-garde black metal band Arcturus (under the name Mortem) with Steinar Sverd Johnsen, which broke up in April 2007 and reunited in 2011. [2] He named himself after the Swiss extreme metal band Hellhammer. [3] Praised as a talented musician, [4] Blomberg is a three-time winner of the Spellemannprisen award. [5]


Early life

As a child, Blomberg's main interests were football (soccer) and wrestling. At first he had no interest in drums or drumming, but as music became more appealing to him he started to find the different instruments interesting, which eventually led to an interest in drums.[ citation needed ] His grandparents purchased him his first three drum kits; the first one was a four-piece jazz kit. With these he began learning how to play drums by playing along with albums he listened to. He was into heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slayer, but also bands like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. He then found out about Venom and Celtic Frost and eventually jazz, due to influences from a past drum teacher.


Hellhammer performing in 2008 Mayhem - Jalometalli 2008 - 16.JPG
Hellhammer performing in 2008

Before joining Mayhem, Blomberg played in various local bands, including the progressive metal band Tritonus,[ citation needed ] where he met Carl August Tidemann, the man who became the Arcturus and Winds guitarist. He did some live performances as well, and then was hired by Mayhem, who needed to replace Kjetil Manheim; Blomberg got the job and took the pseudonym Hellhammer. [4]

The first recordings he did with Mayhem were two songs for a compilation album around 1989, with the songs Carnage and The Freezing Moon. The first proper recording he did with Mayhem was Live in Leipzig in 1990. After that album, Mayhem had some trouble with the line up due to the suicide of the singer Dead and Necrobutcher's departure from the band. During this time he founded the band Arcturus together with Sverd in 1991, out of the remains of the band Mortem. They released the 7" My Angel in 1991 and later the mini album Constellation. In 1995 he joined Immortal as a session drummer during their tour that year, [6] he also agreed to play drums on their first official Video, Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms. He also briefly played for Emperor during this period. The recording and release of the Arcturus debut album Aspera Hiems Symfonia also happened this year.

In 1997 Jan Axel began working with Covenant, now known as The Kovenant, for the recording of their second album, Nexus Polaris . That album was released in 1998 with a following European tour. During 1997 Arcturus also released another album, La Masquerade Infernale .

The next year another album from The Kovenant was released, Animatronic .

During the year 2000 he recorded a mini album with his new band Winds, Of Entity And Mind, which was released in May 2001. Winds also recorded a full-length album during spring 2001, Reflections of the I .

Jan Axel is now a two-time Norwegian Grammy Awards winner, in 1998 for The Kovenant with Nexus Polaris and in 1999 for The Kovenant with Animatronic. They claimed the prize for best hard rock album both years. In addition to these mentioned involvements, Jan Axel has also done numerous appearances as a guest or session musician on other releases.

In 2005, he was interviewed for the black metal mini-documentary that was included with the 2-disc DVD edition of Metal: A Headbanger's Journey , in addition to other Mayhem members Necrobutcher (Jørn Stubberud) and Blasphemer (Rune Eriksen).

In 2009, Hellhammer appeared on Eyes of Noctum's album Inceptum, where he played drums on six tracks. Eyes of Noctum are a black metal band from America featuring Weston Cage, son of Nicolas Cage as their lead singer.

Hellhammer played with keyboardist Andy Winter on one of his albums. [7]

Also in 2010, he played on Nidingr's album Wolf-Father. In 2011, Arcturus reunited, Hellhammer included, and released Arcturian in 2015.


Blomberg has courted controversy in the past by making numerous racist comments and advocating violence against homosexuals. The black metal biography Lords of Chaos quotes him as saying, "I'll put it this way, we don't like black people here. Black metal is for white people.... I'm pretty convinced that there are differences between races as well as everything else. I think that like animals, some races are more ... you know, like a cat is much more intelligent than a bird or a cow, or even a dog, and I think that's also the case with different races." [8] Blomberg said in a 2004 interview, "I don't give a crap if the fans are white, black, green, yellow, or blue. For me music and politics don't go hand in hand." [9]


Blomberg had joined Mayhem under the influence of friends, so he came to know the depressive vocalist "Dead" and the satanic guitarist "Euronymous". Blomberg naively came to give away his recording tapes and therefore officially joined the band. [10]

He, however, came to distrust the attitudes he considered "weird":

I came to his house: he was all dressed in black and there was a knife hanging on his belt. I remember I thought: “What the hell does it mean?” Dead joined the band a few months earlier than me. He was a Swede and didn’t understand a lot what we were talking about. Well, he was a strange guy. A very reserved person. It was impossible to discuss personal things with him.

Hellhammer, [11]

Soon after, Blomberg came to have his first contact with Satanism, at first, therefore, out of youthful curiosity, having read different books on occultism involving different rituals, Blomberg soon realized that he was entering a dangerous path:

Soon after we got into everything that was connected with death, the dark side of life and Satanism. I would always like those things in spite of the fact that I was born in a Christian family. Only years after I realized how weird and how harmful it was for us. But I was too young to resist my temptation for Darkness. I found some books where different rituals were described. Later on we realized our knowledge into the real life... Euronymous was involved most of all. He was our teacher. Now I know he got too far, too far. And Dead followed his steps.

Hellhammer, [12]

Session of Antestor

Borgund stave church is depicted in the Det tapte liv EP's cover art. Borgundstavkirke.jpg
Borgund stave church is depicted in the Det tapte liv EP's cover art.

Blomberg was session drummer for the Christian black metal band Antestor, releasing the EP " Det tapte liv " and, therefore, the following year to the album "The Forsaken" which also had the appearance of vocalist Ann-Mari Edvardsen.

Hellhammer's involvement was in spite of Antestor and Mayhem having an adversarial relationship since the former's "Crush Evil" era; which was characterized by Mayhem's guitarist, Euronymous, trying to force the band to break up.[ citation needed ]

Hellhammer's appearance on the recordings received a polarized reception in the metal scene. In an interview with the Russian metal site Metal Library on January 7, 2007, Blomberg says:

To be honest, it [playing for Antestor] was a big 'fuck off!' to them all [Mayhem colleagues and record company]. I will repeat again that I decide what I do and I play not only in black metal groups.

Jan Axel Blomberg (Hellhammer), Metal Library [13]

The vocalist Ronny Hansen knew Hellhammer personally and asked him to play for the band. The members of Antestor gave Hellhammer the demos for the songs in person, but according to Blomberg, he never met the Antestor members in studio personally because the producer Børge Finstad wanted to work with each musician alone per time to achieve better and more productive results. The band also asked Hellhammer to play live for them, but Blomberg refused. It was not a question about their beliefs, as Hellhammer explains: "In my opinion, black metal today is just music. I will tell you that neither I nor other members of Mayhem never really were against religion or something else. We are primarily interested in music." [13] Additionally, Hellhammer stated that no member of the new line-up was a Satanist, [14] and that the "Satanic stuff […] isn't what I feel Mayhem is about today. […] Mayhem's music is still dark, but I wouldn't say that it's Satanic." [15] Antestor vocalist Ronny Hansen commented on Blomberg's appearance:

First of all Jan Axel "Hellhammer" is a total professional. He started up together with the secular scene and worse (laughs) but he doesn't care if it's secular or Christian. He knew from the start what Antestor stands for. And maybe if we get the chance, we are more than willing to use him again. Cause his drumming is outstanding. I think that he is the very best drummer in the scene and we are just very lucky to have borrowed his brilliance.

Ronny Hansen (Vrede), Jesus Metal [16]


Equipment (2012)



As a member


  • Slow Death (Demo) – (1989)
  • Ravnsvart – (2019)



Covenant/The Kovenant





Age of Silence

Dimmu Borgir


  • Judas – (2004)


  • 7" Umoral EP – (2007)


  • Wolf-Father – (2010)

As a session musician



  • Live drummer – (1992)[ citation needed ]
  • Moon over Kara-Shehr – on the compilation Nordic Metal: A Tribute to Euronymous – (1995)


  • Live drummer, Sons of Northern Darkness Tour Part II – (1995) [6]
  • Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms music video – on the Masters of Nebulah Frost video cassette – (1995)




  • On Frostbitten Path Beneath demo – (2004)
  • On Frostbitten Path Beneath – (2004)



  • Alone (EP) – (2007)


  • The Dark Side and the Bright Side – (2011) [17]

Andy Winter

  • Incomprehensible – (2013)

Dynasty of Darkness

  • Empire of Pain – (2014)

Circle of Chaos

  • Crossing The Line – (2014)

As a guest


  • Synen – on the compilation Souvenirs from Hell – (1997)


Eyes of Noctum

  • Inceptum (tracks 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11) – (2009)

Lord Impaler

  • Admire the Cosmos Black (all tracks) – (2011)

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  1. Grow, Kory (9 February 2017). "Mayhem's Long, Dark Road to Reviving a Black-Metal Classic". Rolling Stone .
  2. "Announcing two Arcturus gigs". ArtisanNorway.com. 16 September 2011. Archived from the original on 22 October 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  3. Christe, Ian (17 February 2004). Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. HarperCollins. p. 281. ISBN   978-0-380-81127-4 . Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  4. 1 2 Kaplan, Jeffrey (2000). Encyclopedia of White Power:A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 28. ISBN   978-0-7425-0340-3 . Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  5. "Spellemannprisen award winners for 2008". Spellemann.no. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  6. 1 2 MEMBERS.
  7. Mayhem's Hellhammer Completes Drum Recordings For New Andy Winter Project blabbermouth.net. 6 November 2007. Retrieved on 10 January 2012.
  8. Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind, Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground (Feral House, 1998), page 305.
  9. "ThyDoom.com". ThyDoom.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  10. "New Page 1". 23 August 2007. Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. Retrieved 11 October 2022.
  11. Interview with Hellhammer conducted by Dmitry Basik June 1998
  12. Interview with Hellhammer conducted by Dmitry Basik June 1998
  13. 1 2 Skogtroll (7 January 2007). "Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg): 'I just have wonderful memories of your country!'". Metal Library (in Russian). Open Publishing. Retrieved 24 June 2008. Quote 1: "To be honest, it was a big 'fuck off!' to them all. I will repeat again that I decide what I do and I play not only in black metal bands." Quote 2: "In my opinion, black metal today is just music. I will tell you that neither I nor other members of Mayhem never really were against religion or anything else. We are primarily interested in music."
  14. Dmitry Basik: Interview with Hellhammer conducted by Dmitry Basik June 1998, Web.archive.org
  15. Dan Zimmer: Interview with Hellhammer taken from Sounds Of Death Magazine, Web.archive.org
  16. Kemman, Max. "Antestor interview" at the Wayback Machine (archived June 12, 2008). Jesus Metal. Retrieved 2007-10-30. Archived from the original on 2008-06-12.
  17. Sculptor Spacebrain Launches Debut Album from His Suchthaus Project patriciathomasmanagement.com. 13 December 2011. Retrieved on 26 August 2012.
Preceded by Drummer for Mayhem
since 1988
New title Drummer for Arcturus
1987–2007, 2011–present
Preceded by Drummer for Emperor
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Drummer for Immortal
Succeeded by
Preceded by Drummer for Thorns
Succeeded by
New title Drummer for Winds
since 1998
Preceded by Drummer for The Kovenant
Succeeded by
Drummer for Troll
Succeeded by
New title Drummer for Mezzerschmitt
since 2000
Preceded by Drummer for Jørn
Succeeded by
Stian Kristoffersen
Preceded by
Drummer for Shining
Succeeded by
Ludvig Witt
Preceded by
Drummer for Antestor
New title Drummer for Age of Silence
since 2004
Preceded by Drummer for Dimmu Borgir
Succeeded by
New title Dynasty of Darkness
since 2009–present