Nidingr ain't exactly in a hurry. Fair enough, quality over quantity is always preferable.
It's been five years since the guys from South/East Norway released new material. They've therefore never graced this site
before. We may thus just as well start off with a short warm up consisting of a swift run through the band's history.
It was started as a solo project in 1992, and released the first demo in 1996. Already then as a full band.
The debut Sorrow Infinite And Darkness (2005) was quite good, without arousing enormous enthusiasm
with me. The vocals and the lo-fi sound just didn't appeal entirely to me. I don't mind primitive sound, but the album sounded
more cheaply and under produced than necro. Nidingr doesn't really reel of the uttermost primitive form of
extreme metal either, although their debut was closer to 1349 than what the rest of the discography has been. The
band has increasingly found themselves closing in on a lightly proggy style with a pinch of eerie atmosphere in the expression.
The sound, as well as the material was thankfully improved on unusually short Wolf-Father (2010), an album
concluded in only 23 minutes, where the atmosphere of misery, madness and errant perdition also spread to the frantic vocals.
Still, it was with the sequel, Greatest Of Deceivers (2012), that the journeyman diploma was achieved, and
even the most selective black metal horders seemed to be persuaded. Or perhaps it was only then that the Norwegians
receive attention from a larger audience than just the most hardcore of 'em?
So, than. What can we expect from a matured band that has spent the
last couple of years carving out the details of their fourth album?
The High Heat Licks Against Heaven
The album is a lot sharper in the sound than its predecessors. They at once cut to the chase with fierce mid-tempo riffing
and ditto rhythms, but they also kick of rather simple. Not a particularly impressive start. The first songs are characterized
by some monotony that gradually yields to variation onwards on the album. Despite a few repetitive cycles behind the rig,
Øyvind Myrvoll, who' been drumming live for Dødheimsgard and God Seed, will eventually
exhibit what he's made of. the quartet's intricate signature reveals itself in glimpses in the second song, Surt,
before the progressive vibes blossom into a full fledged carnivorous flower in The Ballad of Hamther.
Sir, who's stopped by God Seed and Trelldom, handles four thunderous strings. The prominent
bass and occasionally whimsical rhythmic choices takes a steps aside from conventional black metal. A step into the unknown
grey area. An region where madness prevails.
The atmosphere also gradually thickens like a plot, as if the the net is closing in on our beloved antagonist, just as
in a psychological thriller. Cpt. Estrella Grasa was hired as vocalist after the band's two demos, and
has since sharpened his throats on all albums. Thus, the voice is sharp now. And suitably ragingly psychotic. The man is
leading the way into an insane nightmare. The lyrics admittedly deal with Norse faith, but the moods in combination with
the vocals could just as easily have described a psychotic mass murder's bestial acts in grotesque detail. There is a
bleak and ominous whiff of psychological warfare and anxiety seeping out with the creepy music.
Other volunteers chip in on vocals too, something we'll return to, in addition to dropping the name of a mystical voice
that appears in the background at times, namely Destructhor of Zyklon and Myrkskog. He must
have an ambivalent relationship to the pride it would otherwise have been playing guitar in Morbid Angel if
it just hadn't been for the fact that the album he attended was Illud Divinum Insanus.
As you probably know, the grim and aggressive steel strings are controlled with steady hand by Mayhem's
Teloch, the man who initially started Nidingr. Having riffed his way through the
heavy mid-tempo-groover On Dead Body Shore, hallucinatory and claustrophobic, yet also occasionally
leaden Gleipnir is up. A quick trip up for air in the form of aggressive Sol Undertaker
later, and ultra slow Ash Yggdrasil appears on the menu, fronted by the raging and rasping voice of
You can already see all the symptoms of third degree schizophrenia clearly, and still, there's three songs remaining.
The High Heat Licks Against Heaven's somewhat conservative opening gradually feels as a mere diversion.
The album is off to a fairly slow start, but don't spend too much time developing into a veritable mental roller coaster.
It also develops in the overall time axis, by growing slowly but surely. The album needs time! Among other, the sound
feels unnecessarily thin and harsh to begin with, but even this aspect comes to its own. The only thing to nitpick at
concerning this, are crackling sounds due to clipping, caused by unnecessary over-compression of the dynamic range.
Within black metal, however, everything is allowed, and if Nidingr were to claim that “it's supposed
to sound like that, it's intended,” there's little we can do to put the claim to the test.
A little bit of balm for the soul is offered as an apology after more than half an hour of ominous psychedelia. On closing
Naglfar Is Loosed, Myrkur sings swan song with her soothing forest nymph voice. Besides Monsieur
Cpt., all current Nidingr members have previously stepped up to aid Amalie Bruun live.
I've probably heard the album about ten times about now, but it feels as if I'm just about to discover the damned thing.
The album is equipped with a combination locks, but the code must succumb to intense mental focus, with concentration
bordering on telepathy. The risk that some of the madness may rub off and be contagious, is however imminent.
All ten tracks ain't as good, but the best ones work as hell. I suspect it's very individual which ones is
most prominent in this respect, as the album diverge, splay and straddle as a milkmaid who after two summer months
on the saeter mountain farm have had no other male substitute than the churning-stick. Rating: 4+
Bandcamp is only favoured with one song, but you can find
all the songs on the playlist underneath the lyric video for On Dead Body Shore.
Consouling Sounds, 10.02.17
One shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But one might as well give it a shot. Wiegedood would take who ever
attempts it by surprise anyway. The cover primarily suggest atmospheric black metal, possibly a one-man band, perhaps from the
states... One could speculate indefinitely, but the Belgian trio would just shake their heads and smiled mysteriously. Wiegedood, Belgian for Sudden infant death syndrome, started in 2014 and debuted the following year with
De doden hebben het goed (The dead are fine / feel good) to honours and ovations, from what I've observed.
There's a hint of atmosphere behind the cover art, but the overall picture shows a more vital inner self with darker mental
clouds than what those content to pay soaring tributes to woodland and mountains can show for. Wiegedood
have not only their feet firmly planted on the ground, but their ears too. They have neither blinders nor antidepressants
to prevent the shitty state of affairs from influencing their negative mindset and affecting the results.
Behind some kind of diabolical witch cross or Luciferian sigil of twigs we find four songs unevenly distributed over 32
minutes. The music is quite melodic, but sometimes hasty and often evocative. The moods vary from melancholy to malicious
eeriness and the instrumentation display an equally wide repertoire. The quietest moments are greatly dimmed, while other
sequences offers sharp guitars and hateful vocals, marching beats and occult, chanting background chorus.
Somewhere in the countryside between traditional black metal and atmospheric black metal, and slightly to the side of it all,
an uncharted and inaccessible forest hides behind steep cliffs and treacherous hillsides. In this woodland Wiegedood
dwells. Urban legends tell of a demonic curse in the form of an unmentionable fiend causing suffering and certain
death to all who set foot inside. Reliable witnesses are scarce. Few, if any, has escaped with life and mental faculties intact.
De Doden Hebben het Goed II mocks my wary expectations with a surprisingly juicy and distinctive approach.
It's perhaps not surprising that the trio sounds somewhat different, as the guys have a past in bands in completely different
landscapes, such as post-black/hardcore and doom/sludge. I place this roughly midway between four and five points, but end
up, as you can see, on 4+ due to a spasmodically cramped lack of dynamic range in the otherwise highly dynamic song material.
On the positive side, it must be said that this album is a real grower. Rating: 4+
Iron Bonehead, 03.02.17
After having dwelt in the fetid underground, six feet beneath the most heinous and depraved subsoil for over 10 years, French
Ritualization are ready to drop their debut Sacraments to the Sons of the Abyss.
The album is a dirty, infected manifesto of foul and bestial death metal, not intended for the faint of heart.
Brutal pace and raw, infernal downpour is the recipe the guys swear to when they launch a sonic attack with blasphemous lethal lust.
The band's violent appearance is a unison roar of pounding rhythms, beastly strings and frenetic vocals. The chaotic tones
that can sometimes give associations to something that the most brutal amongst ye will vaguely recalls as melodies, only
causes disorientation and dread. All that is missing to make the picture complete is a goat in the title. Allow me:
Sacraments to the Sons of the Goat, or maybe Sacraments to the Goats of the Abyss. Now wasn't that better?
“And he saw that a bizarre kind of harmony was anew restored, and that a seed to conflict had been sown, and that
the germ known as mankind would annihilate each other. He ended thus his life, knowing that it was consummated”.
Sorry about this outburst of profane revelations. Ritualization made me do it.
The sound is adequately cacophonous for this maddened symphony of putrefaction. That there is something askew with the
sound just around the four-minute mark in The Graveyard Coven, is something I simply put on the account
for hiccups in the mp3 conversion. It's nevertheless just a drop of blood in the ocean, and only the most hungry sharks
will be afflicted by it.
The ten songs of the grave desecrating Frenchmen, whereof one intro and one outro, rolls like tanks without unnecessary
refined finesse. Bombs and grenades rule the land, and there is never a dull moment amongst the 43 minutes that the war
of nerves last. Only unruly frenzied fear and loathing from the inside of the tomb. Rating: 4
Check out Beneath the Sepulchre and Morbid Magick Stigmata: