Released: 2005, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
While not a household name, unless someone is choking in the house, Naglfar have been consistent for far longer than most bands their age, and continue to be good in spite of countless trials that might have stricken lesser artists mediocre in a snap. They have survived successful lead guitar and vocalist transplants, weathered endless trends and fashions, and changed labels repeatedly. All the while, you can always count on getting something just as good as what you got when they rolled through last year.
This newest outing is no different, although it may not be the best they’ve ever done. It is, however, easily their heaviest and angriest record. Skipping past the juvenile intro and merely-proficient lead-off track, one gets to the true meat of the disc, wherein the vibe and tone of all that is to come is firmly, harshly, madly set. Both musically and lyrically, it quite jarringly stomps the listener into shock. This is far darker, dirtier fare than Naglfar have served up in the past. Mind you, the band has consistently gotten heavier with each successive record. And while the drifting Swedish melodies the band has become known for remain a steady feature, they are hardly in the forefront anymore. This is a Naglfar driven more by rage, blackened by hatred, and furious to condemn. The songs are pushed forward more by drums, and the hateful invectives of bassist-cum-vocalist Kristopher Olivius, than by the melody lines of yore. That melody is still certainly present, in tracks like “None Shall Be Spared” and “The Perpetual Horrors;” it’s simply used more sparingly on this.
Though not as pretty or melodic as their classic VITTRA disc, it’s still chillingly effective if one is in a hateful mood. If throat-slashing, cult-joining, self-mutilating. puppy-stomping, water tower shoot-out hymns like “Spoken Words Of Venom” and “The Murder Manifesto” fail to either move or sicken you, you clearly just aren’t listening. This is music to hurt people’s feelings to. It keys the car of Christ, and pisses in the gas tank of the Pope.
While not the band’s most vibrant hour, it remains, like all Naglfar releases, a good deal better in its weakest moment than many similar artists at their best. If you like your metal angry, there is no better place to start.