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Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg (born August 2, 1969 in Trysilmarker, Norwaymarker) is a three time Spellemannprisen award-winning heavy metal drummer. He is most well-known for his drumming with the band Mayhem, with which he began his career. He is endorsed by Sabian Cymbals, Axis Pedals and Pearl drums, though he has been known to use Yamaha drums as well.

He joined Mayhem in 1988, following the departure of the drummer and founding member Kjetil Manheim. In addition to Mayhem, one of his long-standing bands was the avant-garde metal band Arcturus, which he formed with Steinar Sverd Johnsen in 1987, originally under the name Mortem, and broke up in April 2007. He has since joined and sessioned for numerous bands.


Early life

Hellhammer, 2008
As a child Jan's main interests were football (soccer), wrestling and drums. He began learning to play drums by playing along with albums he listened to. He was into heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden 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. He began learning drums on a four piece jazz kit.

Music career

Before joining Mayhem, Jan Axel played in various local bands, including the progressive metal band Tritonus, where he met Carl August Tidemann, the man who became the Arcturus and Winds guitarist. He did some performing live during this period as well. He then saw an ad in the newspaper announcing that Mayhem was looking for a drummer. So he went down to Oslomarker to meet the band and gave them his demo tape. They called him the next day to let him know that he was now a member of the band. He then took the pseudonym Hellhammer, which he borrowed from the pre-Celtic Frost band with the same name, because he thought it was a shame that such a good name in his opinion would disappear; he also thought that it was a nice moniker for a drummer.

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 a 7" entitled ”My Angel“ in 1991 and later the mini album entitled “Constellation”.In 1995 he joined Immortal as a session drummer during their tour that year, 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 entitled “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 entitled “Nexus Polaris”. That album was released in 1998 with a following European tour. During 1997 Arcturus also released another album, “La Masquerade Infernale” which became a landmark album in the history of avantgarde metal.

The next year another album from The Kovenant was released, namely the ground breaking album “Animatronic” which led Jan Axel away from the more traditional black metal drumming to a more beat oriented sound.

The year 2000 was another hectic year for Jan Axel due to the recording and release of Mayhem's second full-length studio album “Grand Declaration of War.”

During spring that year, Jan Axel toured the USA with The Kovenant; he did a summer tour with Mayhem; he toured again with The Kovenant, this time in Europe during the autumn.

During the year 2000 he recorded a mini album with his new band Winds, entitled “Of Entity And Mind”, which was released in May 2001. Winds also recorded a full-length album during spring 2001, entitled “Reflections of the I”. The music of Winds takes Jan Axel's drumming into yet a new direction, embarking on a progressive, symphonic and classically oriented musical foundation while still retaining his roots in metal.

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 Erickson).

Hellhammer sustained a serious neck injury in 2007. Dimmu Borgir issued the following statement:

According to Lex Icon's MyOpera blog, despite Hellhammer quitting The Kovenant in 2003,he has promised to do drums for upcoming The Kovenant album Aria Galactica, if needed. Hellhammer's participation has also been confirmed for an upcoming solo release by Winds keyboardist Andy Winter, where Hellhammer will do all the drums as he does in Winter's bands Age of Silence and Winds.


He has courted controversy in the past by making numerous racist comments. The satanic metal biography, Lords of Chaos, which has been criticized for inaccurate information and statements, 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." 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.".


Before his current career as a full time drummer, Jan Axel used to work as a nocturnal guard at a mental hospital. He doesn't smoke, drinks very little alcohol, and he practices his drumming for three hours every day.


As a member

Age of Silence



Death of Desire

Dimmu Borgir

The Kovenant




  • Slow Death (Demo) (1989)
  • Slow Death EP (1990)



  • The Last Predators (2000)
  • Universal (2001)


  • 7" Umoral EP (2007)


As a session musician



  • Live drummer (1992)
  • "Moon Over Kara-Shehr" - on the compilation Nordic Metal: A Tribute to Euronymous (1995)





  • Live drummer


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

As a guest




  2. Axis percussion artist page
  3. Spellemannprisen award winners for 2008
  5. Mayhem's Hellhammer To Record Drums For Death of Desire Debut In October; Artwork Revealed 2009-08-18. Retrieved on 2009-11-09.

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