This CD was originally released in 1998, but Regain Records has purchased the rights, remastered it and re-released it in 2003. DIABOLICAL was Naglfar’s second release after 1995’s VITTRA. After DIABOLICAL, the band virtually disappeared until 2003’s SHEOL (they released an EP, EX INFERIS, in 2001). It was SHEOL that made me take notice of Naglfar and I have since acquired their impressive back catalogue. DIABOLICAL had somehow eluded me but thanks to the fine folks at Regain Records, the last chapter in Naglfar has been completed.
DIABOLICAL is as unrelenting and brutal as any of their other releases. The air-raid siren that opens “Horncrowned Majesty” is the listener’s warning to duck because Naglfar will rip your head off! Jens Ryden’s vicious black metal scream permeates through every song but isn’t buried too far in the mix like black metallers tend to do. Instead it is carefully balanced with the rest of the instruments and becomes part of the song rather than a sidebar. Naglfar is not afraid to let their guard down at points and bring in choirs and a tinkling piano on “Into The Cold Voids Of Eternity” and “A Departure In Solitude” or break into a silly spoken word section on a hidden bonus track after “Diabolical-The Devil’s Child.” The former song has some excellent slower patches that show how competent the band is, too. “The Brimstone Gate” features a slinky bass intro courtesy of Kristoffer W. Olivius that will chill your bones. Mattias Grahn’s drums are a formidable presence as well with impressive double bass found everywhere. Despite being one of the heavier tracks on DIABOLICAL, “Blades” features some great riffs and a standout performance from Ryden on vocals.
DIABOLICAL will please both black and death fans. Naglfar is on the edge of both genres and despite having only released 3 full-length albums in 9 years, they have cemented themselves as masters of their craft. To quote the title track, “See the dawn of Satan’s rise!”
KILLER KUTS: “Horncrowned Majesty,” “Into The Cold Voids Of Eternity,” “Blades”
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