Released: 2005, Century Media
While many presumptuously proclaimed the demise of Swedish Black Metal Kings Naglfar upon discovering that longtime frontman Jens Ryden was departing the band to concentrate on schoolwork, the band’s latest effort PARIAH, should silence all doubters.
First off, props must be given to bassist Kristoffer Olivius for stepping up to the plate and delivering a fine performance, filled with passion, venom, and vitriol. While the charismatic presence and mindfucking delivery of Ryden is missed, Olivius holds his own, and seems to slip right into the vacated slot with relative ease.
Musically, PARIAH is classic Naglfar; much in the vein of their previous longplayer, SHEOL. It is fast and melodic Black Metal performed in the quintessential Swedish style, with tasteful guitar work and breakneck drumming. The only problem is that it is SO similar to SHEOL in delivery, the essential nature of this record comes into play.
While I myself have spun the hell out of this record, I can’t help but feeling that PARIAH is for Naglfar maniacs only, due to the fact that so little in the way of variation or progression has been displayed. It is business as usual, and business is good…but don’t go expecting PARIAH to reinvent the wheel, because it isn’t going to happen.
What you WILL receive, however, is a damn fine Black Metal album in a style which seems to be falling out of fashion these days. In the age of umpteen Darkthrone/Burzum clones (which-don’t get me wrong-I enjoy), it is refreshing to hear a band like this still kicking out the jams, and PARIAH is prime proof of the style at it’s best.