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Virus West
(Ars Metalli)

Germany's NAGELFAR (not to be mixed up with Sweden's NAGLFAR, for those who still haven't noticed the little spelling difference...) had a phenomenal start when they released their stunning debut "Hünengrab Im Herbst" a couple of years back. Over the top reviews were the logical consequence and established the name in the underground immediately. The 1999 follow-up "Srontgorrth" (with its unique lyrical concept) was a worthy follow-up and easily manifested the band's status. And that leads us to their latest full length "Virus West", which I consider as NAGELFAR's most extreme CD release to date. The band quite obviously has become a lot more aggressive and straight forward and by this often even reaches the intensity of MARDUK, which is totally great in these wimpy oriented times! As usual they recorded their material at Andy Classen's Stage One Studio and therefore ended up with a brilliant, very powerful production. But unfortunately I also found several little bits and pieces that I wasn't too fond about. First of all they should stop writing those incredibly long songs. This time it's only seven tracks, but they altogether reach a total playing time of more than an hour! I would prefer to listen to a doubled number of songs with half of the individual playing times. It just gets boring after a while. And then there's the overall presentation of the CD, which is completely in black and white this time. Nothing wrong in using black and white if it delivers the right atmosphere. But the cover they used for "Virus West" is definitely more suitable for an old Hardcore release than a Black Metal band. I also pretty much disgust the fact that NAGELFAR didn't seem to care for an international audience as they only used the German language (not only for the songtitles and lyrics, but also for all further CD related information). This, in connection with the visual side, can easily attract a "proud-to-be-German" type audience and I'm not sure if they would really appreciate that. So, musically this is basically another great and genuine effort (apart from the length of the songs), but if they should still consider themselves a Black Metal act, the packaging definitely sucks big time.

Frank Stöver

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