Released: 2005, Century Media/Border Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
I don’t think that much introduction to Naglfar is needed. This black metal act from Umeå, Sweden released their debut VITTRA back in 1995. This is an album that is today considered to be a modern classic within the black metal genre. The fans haven’t been spoiled with albums, the band have only released three albums and one MCD during 10 years, so they sure have dedicated fans.
Naglfar have gone through some changes since SHEOL (2003), they have signed on to a new label (Century Media) and their singer Jens Rydén has also left. Apparently he moved to Stockholm for educational reasons and decided then to resign from the band. Instead of searching the land for a replacement the guys simply let the bass player Kristoffer take over the mic. Besides singing in Naglfar he also sings in the more extreme black metal band Setherial. Besides that, the guys been out on a European tour with the Finnish act Finntroll. Naglfar isn’t known to be a band that tours much but maybe that will change now.
PARIAH begins where SHEOL left off and if feels like a logical continuation. Naglfar have refined and developed their modern black metal but still they haven’t abandoned their musical heritage. In other words, the blood boils, the hate dominates, and the fury continues on PARIAH. The guys have really taken their symphonic black metal style one step further if that’s possible.
Naglfar have once again entered the Ballerina Studio in Umeå and it took them three months to make PARIAH to the masterpiece it is. The album has it all, the production sounds magical and the producer has managed to get the absolutely best out of all of the guys. Even though the guys are now 4 members instead of 5, it doesn’t feel like they lacking anything. Marcus and Andreas on guitar share both lead and rhythm and those two combine in an absolutely stunning way. Kristoffer handles both the bass and the vocals and he can manage to do two things at the same time. He really impresses on vocals and he pulls off both growls and metal vocals as well as the more ordinary lead vocals and he sounds extremely evil throughout the whole album. I don’t know if Jens is going to come back to Naglfar, but however did the band a wise decision in letting Kristoffer take over the mic.
PARIAH clocks in on 40 minutes and by then the band has run through 9 raging tracks. I have had this promo a while and I promise you that it gets better the more you listen to it. The only thing I’m questioning is that it sounds like they have used keyboards in some of the tracks. There are no keyboards listed though, but keys just adds the symphonic feeling and should be printed in the info.
It’s going to be hard for the guys to do another brilliant album like this because it doesn’t get much better than PARIAH. I can’t even pick any favorite tracks so I have to say the whole album is just killer.