I've known Naglfar
for well over a year at the time of writing this review but nothing has sparked my interest enough in them. I heard one song off Pariah
, thought it was good but nothing special and held off listening to them for a while. What a big mistake that was. This album is really a fine example of how good Melodic Black Metal
can be pulled off. Where as their later albums suffer somewhat in the song writing in an effort to make it more commercially acceptable. This album lacks those flaws and it is only in the last track where things take a turn for the worst.
Due to the genre tag being Melodic Black Metal
comparisons to their fellow Swedes Dissection
are unavoidable. This isn't to say they are a clone band, no not at all, it's just that there are several stylistic similarities to group them all in. The music lacks the dark, evil edge of Dissection
and doesn't have the cold, mystical aura that surrounds the music of Sacramentum
. This album is much lighter than those two bands, and when I mean light I mean apart from the last track there's nothing profoundly evil in the music what so ever (although to be fair Sacramentum
aren't necessarily evil but they're still darker than Vittra
.) The music is surprisingly upbeat for a Black Metal
album and shows that you don't have to be miserable all the time for it to be considered Black.
The music is well executed, the riffs are extremely melodic and some of the best I've heard in Black Metal
. Unlike a lot of Black Metal
it is the melody that helps create the atmosphere, unlike Burzum
where the fuzzy guitar tone takes up this role. This isn't atmospheric in the typical sense mind you, but then again this isn't necessarily typical Black Metal
. The music has this great magical feel to it, somewhat ethereal in its delivery. Mixed in with sparse synths and acoustic interludes and the atmosphere is intensified. I've heard people say that adding synths and acoustics makes an album cheesy, I feel that these people are unbelievably incorrect, these elements help to create the atmosphere rather than detract from it. If you want cheesy synth listen to Sonata Arctica
(although I do like them, they're still the cheesiest Metal
band I've encountered.) The drumming is good, it fits perfectly with the riff oriented nature of this album, although it may be a little hard to hear at times. Bass is mostly inaudible but is good for what it is, no complaints here.
The only problem I have with this album is the last track, this album goes in a completely different direction than the previous songs and tries to forge a dark, evil atmosphere. The problem with this is that the other songs were so melodic and not very dark at all, that putting a song like this on seems pointless. It detracts from the listening experience of the entire album, and no one will be able to convince me that this track is worthwhile. Remove it and this would warrant a perfect rating from me. As it stands though I can only give this release a 17/20 as much as I don't want to, the last track just keeps me from giving it anything higher. Such a shame that this wonderful album was kept back from the directionless last track.
Best tracks- All the first 8 tracks are excellent but if I had to choose the best then it'd be As The Twilight
Gave Birth to the Night
and Sunless Dawn