Label: Osmose Productions
Release Date: 31 January 2020
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
It already appears that 2020 is shaping up to be a mammoth year for the metal underground, with a deluge of mind-blowing releases launching over the first 31 days of the year. This metal bounty means that we are spoiled for choice and many releases well-deserving of our attention may slip past unnoticed. Never fear, we at Blessed Altar Zine aim to bring forth as many amazing bands as we can funnel into your brain, and today I have chosen a black metal act that is sure to stimulate your grey matter, NATTVERD.
NATTVERD is a traditional black metal band that formed during the 1990’s in Bergen Norway. Interestingly, they wrote their first album “Vi vet gud er en løgner” during their early years, however, this debut effort wasn’t released until decades later, in 2017. Last year the band released an EP “Skuggen” and a single “Hoegt Oppe Gaar Stormen” all in the lead up to their second full-length album “Styggdom”, which will be unleashed this Friday. There have been a few tweaks to the band’s line-up this time around, with the original duo Ormr (vocals) and Atyr (guitar) recruiting the talents of new members Sveinr (bass), Serpentr (vocals) and Anti Christian (session drums).
“Styggdom” comprises eight songs and runs for 57 fiercely satisfying minutes. It won’t ambush you with anything unexpected or out of the ordinary, it simply presents all of the essential components of a classic black metal album, but delivered at the highest quality. Everything you crave is there, including: terror-inducing vocals, piercing screams, furious tremolo-picked guitars, catchy riffs, and breakneck blast beats, all overlaying creepy backing tracks, and bleak/ dark atmospheres.
The album starts strong with “Slakt Dem, Der De Loeper Hodeloese Rundt Baalet”, and this nicely sets the mood for what will follow. There is a bounty of angry, fast-paced fury spun throughout the work, but for me the real magic within the album’s composition comes from the interplay with the mid-paced and atmospheric moments. This is utilised well in track three “Skoddeskot” and track six “Gamle Erik” which start with eerie, melodic synth before erupting into terrifying violent storms. These well-placed, slow, creeping moments work to hold your attention and offer some reprieve from the onslaught. This periodic quelling of intensity prevents the album from ever becoming tedious. The standout tracks for me have to be “Dragsvoll” and “Gatelangs I land og rike”.
Overall, “Styggdom” delivers flawless old school black metal with polished modern production, which for me is a killer combination. I personally love NATTVERD‘s style and if you are a fan of the kind of pure traditional black metal that makes you want to pack your bags and head for the fjords, then this is an album that you shouldn’t miss. 8.5/10 Proua Metallist.
8.5/10 To Greatness and glory!
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.