Review Summary: FUS RO DAH motherfuckers
I can't say enough good things about this record Natur. In a year, much less a decade that has seen black metal lose it's luster more often than not, It's quite refreshing to come across a new band that can conjure up the old, prideful spirit and gritty atmosphere that their forefathers imprinted upon the earth. It's a sound that reminds one of Norway's glory days back when Norwegian black metal meant something. It's a sound that embodied the true spirit of a genre. The blood running through the veins of this beast is strictly Norwegian in the strictest and most pure form of the word. Kaevum, the young Norwegian band responsible for this incredible album have channeled their rich, historical past, pooled together their influences and ideas, and hunkered down deep in the northern woodlands to create a heartfelt, engaging black metal record that is aggressive and crisp, true to the tenets of the early second wave.
Sometimes you find an album, other times an album finds you. In this particular case the album found me. It's alluring artwork detailing that of a young Norse woman with a gloomy, black and gray colored backdrop drew me in. It's delicate pairing of refined beauty and sinister occultism led my gut to believe that this was something special. My gut was right because this is one special album.
Kaevum play no frills Norwegian black metal in the vein of the old guard, but rather opting for a Satanic, pure hatred approach Kaevum adopt a more naturalistic, triumphant sound instead, kind of like a more aggressive Bergtatt. There are no cold, dark ambient segues, hysterical shrieking or martial rhythms. What you have here is a atmospheric, riff heavy assault fueled by Nordic pride and ancient wildernesses. This is a sound that has been honed and perfected by the Nords for the Nords. A perfect soundtrack for adventuring, warring, drinking and praying to the old gods too. Everything from the triumphant sounding guitar passages to the Ulver-ian clean singing evoke feelings of Western European jubilee.
The vocals are performed mostly in a raspy growl that's traditional to the genre. You've heard them before and I've heard them before but it's familiarity doesn't impose boredom upon you. They fit the music quite well. Another facet to the vocals is the clean singing which can be heard in a handful of the tracks in Natur. This aspect is more memorable, one because they add dimension to the meat and potatoes formula and two because they sound really good. They sound really epic like if Baldr beamed himself up from the depths of Hel and opened his mouth. The guitar focus lies in catchy rhythms and battle ready riffage. The template is simple but that's all it needs to be because the guitars carry the weight of the record. The rhythm section is of particular note because of how well the drums sound. They play a prominent role in the rhythmic assault while the bass takes a step back. It's ok though because it's black metal. Production is raw and gritty and compliments Kaevum's sound perfectly. The cohesion of the vocals, drums and guitars are captured in harmony because of it. If it was any rawer or cleaner it would detract from the sound quality.
This was a pleasant surprise for me. I had never heard this band prior to this album a few months back but I gave it a try anyways and was thoroughly entertained by it. Casual and seasoned metallers alike should give this a try.