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NAGLFAR
NAGLFAR
Pariah
(Century Media Records)
39:30min

NAGLFAR, and all those other bands that spawn from the Swedish way of Black Metal, can deny it until they turn cold and blue, there's no chance to run away from the fact, namely that this kind of melodic Black Metal is closely linked to the other bands we know, like Dark Funeral, Setherial and Marduk. Of course we manage to differ the bands from each other, but they all have the same melodic feeling to the mostly fast Black Metal. And since especially Marduk and Dark Funeral have released albums that today can be considered as vintage Black Metal, it shouldn't come as a surprise that "Pariah" feels good in the aforementioned company. The album as a whole is as comfortable as well-produced melodic Black Metal can be. To some this can probably turn out to be a problem, since these some do not want their Black Metal to be comfortable. But hey, when you've heard like 333 Black Metal albums the last 10 years, how dangerous can Black Metal be? After all, the days of Burzum, early Mayhem and that period of time are gone. Now we're getting underground acts like the deadly Leviathan from USA, or we get superproduced acts like Dimmu Borgir. And then there are all those in between. Like NAGLFAR. NAGLFAR are in between. The crispy vocals and NAGLFAR's rapidness will not let 200.000 potential buyers raise twice as many eyebrows. But still "Pariah" is an album that should give quite many buyers some pleasant repeatedly 40 minutes of fine Black Metal. A couple of tracks are easy come, easy gone. 'Spoken Words Of Venom' does not offer anything but too much speed and some average mid-paced melodies towards the end, and the closer 'Carnal Scorn & Spiritual Malice' is too fast as well, going nowhere. Though, it has a short but straight-in-your-face ending that's worth a dollar or two. It's rather 'A Swarm Of Plagues' and 'The Perpetual Horrors' that make me raise my own two eyebrows. The latter is a mid-paced track that has a pounding riff I haven't heard since Marduk slowed down after their amazing Black Metal holocaust, namely "Panzer Division Marduk". NAGLFAR show us that they rely on melodies you can remember when they do not choose to speed ahead like a mousy Gonzalez. They even know how to play a solo that feels right, instead of just using some scales that doesn't lift the tracks. However, it's 'A Swarm Of Plagues' that makes me wish NAGLFAR dared to vary more in every single track. Then again, would this track be as special if they did? I don't know, but 'A Swarm Of Plagues' is a 100 % excellent Black Metal track. They blast it off like God's behind them. Then, after 3 minutes, they go deep down to Hell, speaking with the Devil for some 35 seconds. The Devil shows them how to stay piano. God's no problem, and NAGLFAR and the Devil himself kick God away with a massive double-vocalic mid-paced superb ending. Too bad it's the first song on the album, after a short intro. No doubt the Devil makes the better music. www.naglfar.net

Roy Kristensen

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