Released: 2003, New Haven
Ultimately a reviewer should not be influenced by the opinions of other reviewers. However, it is nice when a reviewer, myself in this case, feels something is superb and has other people confirm that feeling. I have read a number of positive reviews of this disc and a few of them have expressed a similar sentiment. That is, Naglfar has delivered a masterpiece but some of us are not quite sure how.
I don’t mean to suggest that the band was incapable of such work, in fact the first few releases by the band were well received in the underground. What I do mean is that SHEOL has this intangible quality in my mind that puts it ahead of the pack. I’m having a hard time articulating why this CD appeals to me so much. I mean in the realm of extreme music there are bands that are heavier, faster, gorier, blacker…whatever but Naglfar seem to have mixed all the elements in the right proportions to create a recipe for awesome metal.
The vocals of Jens Ryden blow me away. I LOVED his solo project Dead Silent Slumber and he takes his voice to another plane on this release. Everything about this disc is total quality. Absolutely crushing and searing guitars, interesting songs a brilliant blend of ultra-precise and speedy aggression and some variety in a few slower spots. Char-blackened thrash par extraordinaire, Sheol (Hebrew for Hell) is a very fitting title.
The title ‘Of Gorgons Spawned Through Witchcraft’ may sound like a lame COF knock-off but the track has none of the neo-goth stylings of COF. This track was in fact featured on the Ex Inferis MCD from a couple of years back. Lead off track, ‘I am Vengeance’
kills all who behold her. Lyrically this is loosely based around Dante’s descriptions of the various levels of hell. As I have not read Dante, this subtle point is lost on me but scholar of the works may find a great appreciation in the lyrics.
SHEOL is one of those discs with the immeasurable X-Factor, that unspoken quality, so hard to define yet so attractive appealing. This is black metal done with flair, passion and precision. Naglfar adhere to the archetypes of the genre but push those boundaries ever so slightly that this offering is sure to make many critics Top 10 of 2003. Visit the bands recently revamped web-site at http://www.naglfar.net.