Even in the underground, amidst the black metal scene that I have been paying more and more attention to as time goes on, Naglfar
is all too often overlooked. Unlike many bands in the modern times, Naglfar
is not known to be a band to release an album every year. These guys are just the opposite. Since the band's formation ten years ago, they have released a mere three records. Ay least we know they value quality over quantity. Their 1995 album Vittra
has remained a milestone in the Swedish black metal scene while their 1998 followup Diabolical
only helped in furthuring their career. Now, five years later, they return once again with Sheol
, an album that I feel deserved much more recognition than the band has ever gotton.
The album begins with the familiar single I Am Vengeance
. And I must say, a few quick listens to this song and I was convinced that I must own this album as soon as possible. It begins with the traditional atmosphereic instrumental intro. In the beginning the song is slightly repetitive, but picks up greatly when Jens comes in with his vocals. The leads guitars get fired up and it really starts to show why this band is called "melodic" black metal, which proves to be an album highlight. The into riffs sound ten times better with the lyrics, and the song is completed by the occasional guitar tapfest here and there. We press on with the track Black God Aftermath
, which has music that is as good as it is blasphemous. The lead guitar riffs don't quite match the tapping sections in Vengeance
, but the song as a whole is still very solid. Continuing on, we get to Wrath of the Fallen
. Here we get some better synth backed power chords. Not quite as good as the preceeding tracks, but still pretty good. At times the vocals seem to be layered which sounds really cool, while the first sustained scream on the record sounds great as well. At 2:45 we actually get a quick guitar solo which sounds pretty sweet leading back into the lyrics. Nearl 4:52 later, Abysmal Descent
starts off. So far it's the slowest song on the album, and chugs on pretty steadily. It slowly gets faster with the drum beats picking up the doubl bass and occasional blast beatage. At 3:45ish the track deceptively stops and starts back up at 4:05. It is slightly repetitive and is no highlight. At 7 minutes long this may be one to skip...but at least Devoured by Naglfar
comes afterward, with a great solo in the intro. It gets nice and quick early on is a pretty consistent song all around. The heaviness it has goes well with the traditional synth-backed lead riffs. Most of the main riffs aren't leads, but this throws a wrench into the usual power chordage. Of Gorgons Spawned Through Witchcraft
comes next and blasts off right away. No long intro, just what we need. This song is more instrumental then the others and has fewer lyrics (more time to enjoy the music). The main guitar parts sound prett badass
if I do say so myself. But of course, who could be with out a song like Unleash Hell
? It starts off with a fucking
awesome guitar part and goes straight into the vocals. This flows a little more steadily than the other songs and has even more sweet guitars later on in the song, complete with a solo. This track, while more brutal than the others, is still quite evil :evil: . Force of Pandemonium
follows, and in the beginning sounds strangely reminiscent of I Am Vengeance
. But obviouisly that couldn't be kept up for long. It breaks off and does it's own thing. Nothing real special, and is slightly disappointing after Unleash Hell
. But of course it does has the traditional Naglfar guitar parts to keep us listening. The main structure does get slow at one point making for a more unique track. It goes into some nice sounding leads instead of the usual power chords. Yet again, we get a great solo. Anf finally, the record is wrapped up with The Infernal Ceremony
. It starts with very symphonic sounds - basically sounds like a normal song by them except played on a piano. It ends with odd rumbling and whooshing sounds. Strangely fitting for a record like this...
As stated, it's a wonder why nobody ever mentions a band like this. Naglfar is sweet relief from stereotypical bullshit
and I think really delivers a unique sound to the black metal world. I can't comapre trhis to Vittra
since I've never heard them, but this album will surely change that. Granted, many songs can often times feel repetitive, but there several songs that come in and are insanely good. In the long run this would be a great adition to a black metal enthusiast's collection and will stand in it's own catergory within the genre.
I Am Vengeance
Wrath of the Fallen
Final Rating - 4/5
I hope I get this posted before people start to break down my door - sorry I put this off so long guys.