Released: 2017, Inter Arna Productions
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Rene "Ash" Wagner is something of an enigma; on one hand loud mouthed, opinionated and obnoxious, on the other soulful and poetic. One thing that few would argue is the man's talent for weaving stirring sonic patterns. "Era Of Threnody" is the seventh full length album under the Nargaroth banner. It is not hyperbole to state that it his finest work since the distant heady days of "Black Metal Ist Krieg".
The immediately haunting opener "Dawn Of Epiphany" sets the tone beautifully. It chills to the bone with delicate, fragile melodies. Ash's vocals are as harsh as ever as he howls over an astonishing sonic backdrop. This majesty is equalled by "Whither Goest Thou" - its all consuming melody pulling in the listerner like sirensong. "Conjunction Under The Alpha" is like a blanket of suffocating emotional intensity. A promethean sense of grandeur and exquisite torture.
The guitars parts of ".As Orphans Drifting In A Desert" blaze like righteous fire, manging to both lilt and grind with feverish magnitude. It is followed by the blastbeats and brimstone of "The Agony Of A Dying Phoenix", a hellish ride into the mind of a madman. The unashamedly Heavy Metal guitar solo is also a delight. The brooding intro of "Epicedium To A Broken Dream" bleeds into an equally maudling main section, like a condemned person contemplating mortality.
"Love Is A Dog From Hell" is and over-driven metalstorm, a short-sharp-shock which leads nicley into the chilling title track, which features some truly phenomenal musicianship; a vortex of utter hopelessness. The foreboding "TXFO" is less intricate than the rest of the album but is no less potent. The tearstained and panoramic epic "My Eternal Grief, Anguish Neverending" closes proceedings. It is full of mourning and pain, and is far more introspective and personal than Black Metal usually gets.
What a masterclass of form and melody. The riffs live long in the memory, lending weight to the wonderfully textured and layered song structures. A genuine sense of craving pervades every single track, which are further augmented by the choral chanting and classical guitar motifs. This is an album that simply drips with drama. A masterpiece.
Review by Owen Thompson