Darker Than Black Records, 30.09.17
We stay in black waters for a while, this time setting sail into Norwegian fjords.
The debuting duo Nattverd was first conceived in 2010, and have apparently taken their time rather than rushing it. The band consists of string-bender Atyr (Natas) and throat-molester Ormr. To top it of with battering beats, the band has hired Serpentr. Nattverd's present habitat is Førde in Norway, although the guys don't come therefrom. Their origin, however, is shrouded in fog.
The only thing we know, with as much certainty as you can expect from something you've read, is that this dim duo was started seven years ago.
The black metal that Nattverd performs, blends nicely in among its congeners from the nineties. In those days, the atmosphere that was conveyed was as important as infernal intense rawness. Likewise, individual idiosyncrasy were almost a requirement for full admiration. Eventually, as all imaginable blank space in between the diversity of the signatures of the bigger and more acclaimed acts were filled out, and all the clones made sure to double-book all the most common expressions and make them more generic, it has become ever more difficult to find ones own path in a landscape of already trampled trails.
I feel that Nattverd has succeeded more than can be demanded at this aspect. Indeed, vague associations appear, but I haven't succeeded in finding something concrete to refer to. The black style of the band blends aggressive cruelty and doomy antagonism in a way that reminds a bit of black'n'roll, but that still don't belong entirely in that pigeonhole. The music has a gloomy but also proud satanic feel. The two (or in reality three) deliver angry black disgust with a blasphemous messages, and do it with youthful eagerness and heads held high.
The black vocal is basically not my favourite, but it still slides quite naturally in. Particularly in a devilish manifesto like Lucifers Blod. In addition, a lot of spoken vocal is used. This can remind somewhat of what is found in the beautiful song Mørkefødt by Djevel, albeit performed with dialect from the south-eastern part of the country. This vocal form forms a significant part of the album, and works well enough to help give Vi Vet gud Er En Løgner some of the singular identity that becomes more and more rare. Following Sjeler i Brann also stand out with its ice-cold and dark reflections. So does Stille som Stein..., which cast a dim shade of sadness over the audience.
The sound is rotten. Raw and unpolished, straight from the bottom of their heart, and with good dynamics. Thus suitable for their desired clientèle. The performance tastes a bit like the slightly green banana, not completely matured, but the technical capacity is still fully present. Hear for instance from 3:15 and till 4:00 in the title-track for a decent demonstration. Why then I perceive the band as kind of unfinished or fresh, is somewhat diffuse and difficult to explain, even to myself. The material is far above par with regard to memorable riffing. As opposed to the norm, you will find such across the board on Vi Vet gud Er En Løgner. Take Du Gudfryktige Orm as a rather random example. Start anywhere, and something new and killer will be there, or right around the corner. That basically apply to many a song. In addition, I have nothing to nitpick at concerning the percussion. Even when I'm searching for faults.
This is just the beginning. Mark my words. Vi Vet gud Er En Løgner is on the verge of Very Good, and the promising musicians from Førde will reach far. They are probably already more than able to scar the soul of those who thrive deepest in the underground. I can feel it burning myself. Rating: 5-
My friend, Mr. Islander over at No Clean Singing also present his well-chosen words regarding the album, before he (unlike stingy me) offers a full stream.
Meet Asagraum, if you haven't already made their acquaintance via teasers and news from the underground.
I predict that the band will get its share of attention based partly on them presenting high-quality cold and raw black metal, but that they will probably gain extra attention due to a coinciding aspect concerning the nature of the duo's line-up.
Not because they are both above average renown, but because they are both chicks.
Last week we discussed Urarv, where we met Trish, who comes from Canada, but who has moved to Scandinavia, with periodic stays in Norway and Sweden, respectively. As in Urarv, she still plays drums. Vocal and guitar is handled by her partner, Obscura, who comes from the Netherlands, and has experience from amongst other Draugur.
The press release describes Asagraum's debut as a “blast from the past”, and I agree. The two ladies dwell in Scandinavian black metal of the old school, but they are still able to construct charred loathe that sounds fresh. It's as if the two compensate for their unorthodox line-up by serving extra solid ferocity. Such extra-musical aspects are prone to giving excessive attention for all the wrong reasons. A phenomenon that in turn makes haters smell blood. Asagraum should be able to avoid this as their debut material is hellishly robust. And if they were to become a victim of the tabloid media's inclination to prioritizing the wrong perspectives, even sceptical connoisseurs will most likely give them their deserved recognition, for the ladies crush lots of the diluted shit that floods today's market.
Obscura screams all what her throat can withstand, and surpass most of her (relatively few) female competitors, and quite a few male ones in the process. The words that can be deciphered are all in reverently favour of the Prince of Darkness. In addition, I'm guessing that there's not a whole lot of respect for much else, even though that's mere speculations. Trish Kolsvart follow up with rhythms as of wild hoofs from demonic horses in the Wild Hunt's fellowship in the night. The ladies don't hold back an inch, and both deliver well over par.
The expression is harsh, fast and devilish in moods. Obscura's riffs are cold and hostile all around. All the songs might not have the memorability of the riffs found in the opener Transformation, but the girls' necrotic drive sinks its meat-hooks in your frozen body and haul you along on their unruly journey through the vast icy tundra of the underworld. Potestas Magicum Diaboli burns with an ice cold flame so undercooled that the danger of frostbite in the soul is very feasible.
Almost exactly two years ago, Immortal Frost released their self-titled debut in 500 copies.
As this has been sold out for a while, and the record label considers it an outstanding masterpiece, they've chosen to make the album available again. In 1000 CD copies this time. In addition, they release it on vinyl for the first time, in 250 copies.
I can understand how Drawn Into Descent appeals to some people, but I don't really regard it as exceptional myself. It's a quite nice piece of music of the melancholic, calm and atmospherically doomy type of black metal. The band is more keen on revelling in moods and constructing vital structures of a slightly progressive kind, than conveying heartfelt pain or resentment.
The lead melodies and rhythms are designed to be in continuous motion and the instrumentation is well done. The guitars convey a lot of melody, and it all becomes rather sore and discouraged, although it's not heart-rending and frustrated enough to touch upon the depressive sub-genre.
The problem on my part is that the music falls a bit between two chairs. It is sad, but not harrowing, doomy, but not slow and heavy. It does not exhibit any gnawing hatred to the world, but rather drowns in self-pity. The painful rasping screams of vocalist B., choked with tears, just doesn't hit the same nerve as Grishnackh on early Burzum releases.
The music is relaxing, as long as you enjoy atmospheric black metal of the aching type, where gloom is presented in a slightly whiny way. The album emits abundant melodic sadness that induce a saddened feeling of emptiness, and the band deserves honourable mentions for avoiding monotony by always being on the move.
I can listen to album without any problem, but for me personally, the expression becomes a bit too emo, and the overall impression ain't really too exciting or interesting. I'm certain, however, that others will be able to find a lot more to mope and sulk over on Drawn Into Descent. Thus I suggest you try for yourself. Rating: 3