Review Summary: Welcome My Lords, to Valhall!
Sometimes I wish all Viking based metal was this awesome. Sure your more death metal based bands like Amon Amarth are also great for headbanging to, but when it comes to Black Metal that is based on nordic paganism it is often a rather disappointing affair. The use of folky melodies is something that fits well into the more light metal genres, but the pure energy and raw quality of this album make [probably] the best album in the viking-subsection of black metal.
The production is horrendous, and you know what, it's still ***ing awesome. The guitars sound like dry static, the bass rumbles on in an undefined blur, and the drums are dominated by indistinct cymbals. Usually this would suck and create the picture that the band are amateurs using the bad production to hide the lack of song writing skill. Well right from the get go we know this is not the case on this CD. Valhall, the opener, is an extremely energetic track, full of great lyrics paired with fast melodic tremolo riffs and a memorable clean-vocal-tinged chorus. Excellent songwriting is apparent right away, and it holds throughout all five songs. The riffs of PestKrieg (especially the theme, doubled by an unusually audible bass) are of a very high caliber as well and this standard is held throughout the album.
I think if it weren't for the brevity of this album, along with the kinda cheesy guitar solo that introduces "Fallen Heroes", then I would be very tempted to give the album a 5. It succeeds on so many levels, it takes the terrible production and somehow turns it into a positive aspect. I dunno why but after a couple of listens I began to love the production on this album, squeaky clean sound would definitely not suit the music. The vocals are also extremely well executed, especially the Bathory cover (Home of Once Brave) showcases some of the excellent clean vocals that are done by Occulta Mors (known by many for his previous band, Moonblood). Speaking of Moonblood (and leading to the inevitable comparison) Nachtfalke is as good, if not better, than the best of the Moonblood material (such as "My Evil Soul" and "Blut und Krieg"). The production is far more balanced instrument wise, and also far more treble is in the mix which gives the guitars a great buzzing edge (the guitars do take getting used to).
Lyrics on the album are great as well. Sure the whole Viking thing can get cheesy, but the lyrics here are about as tasteful as you will get and the backing music really lends the lyrics the intense background and fury that is needed to make them effective. The vocal delivery is also on par, switching between clean and harsh vocals, and finding a good balance. There is also a good amount of balance in the guitar work with lots of lead melodies in the music and harmonic work between the guitar parts. The riffing does not even get close to the monotonous nature of most black metal but still stays true to the feel of the genre. A very well crafted album if I may say so.