naðra – allir vegir til glötunar (2016)

icelandic black metal is literally bursting out with creativity and extremely well releases and this is a gift. and often we see collaborations and side projects rather than constant bands. naðra is such a project, formed by members of other projects including carpe noctem, misþyrming, 〇 and skáphe (more on that later). allir vegir til glötunar (all roads to destruction) is the sole full-length and follows down a different path; rather than cold, distant, mechanical and insane icelandic releases of late, this is an organic black metal album leaning towards epic & folk/pagan.

the classic 5 piece, individually bearing initials as it is fashion now evidently, includes t. (aka tómas, who also plays guitars for carpe noctem, misþyrming and drums for 〇) on lead guitars, who completely controls the proceedings. leaving the melodic rhythm tremolos / riffs to d.g. (of misþyrming, 〇, and skáphe), t. here is liberated to sway as he pleases, experimenting hidden realms of night, ice and fury, and taking us with him, all the while contributing to dual rhythm. his solos are a joy to behold. the drums, handled by h. (aka hilmar) are quite heavy, loud and thunderous to be honest. so generous on the blast beat and double bass, even on slower passages, drums contribute heaviness to otherwise mellower moments. along with him, bassist g. (of misþyrming) completes the rhythm section.

lastly, ö. (örlygur sigurðarson, who played guitars on〇) has the microphone and his extremely energetic, furious, rather varied and throaty vocals would also feel at home in a death / core release, and maybe even more so. no real complaints, his lyrical lines fit like a glove and occasional shrills / shrieks complement the instrumental parts, but i felt the tone is somewhat out of place.

also, differentiating from other recent icelandic releases, for example the mechanical precision of wormlust – the feral wisdom, the sound is on the scratchy, rather low-fi side with an old school raw production. among quite fast and angry tracks and a 14-minute epic 3rd track “falið”, the slow and heavy pagan metal beauty “sál” is my immediate favourite.

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