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.


nagelfar – virus west (2001)

another superb album from the german ván records community. virus west is nagelfar’s second and (sadly) the last full-length album. with zingultus (endstille) on vocals, zorn (ego noir) on guitars and bass and (nobody less than) alexander von meilenwald (the ruins of beverast) on drums, keyboards and bass, virus west sounds nothing like a three men work – an hour long black metal feast that reminds epic battle scenes, darkness and cold, executed in superior german engineering, with the perfect balance of variation and repetition. the drums are thunderous, furious and heavy, the guitars are crispy and you have the atmosphere supported by the orchestration, and shrieking in german. now, german is an amazing language that suits the music perfectly. anyone who claims otherwise clearly has a different opinion, which is fine by the way. just listen to mahler’s “das lied von der erde” or einstürzende neubauten’s “fiat lux”. as with any other genre of music (or just simple conversation) german fits black metal in glorious fashion. out of the 6 10 minutes or so long songs and a small interlude, the headbanging second track “sturm der katharsis” is my favourite.

alman ván records camiasından şahane bir albüm daha. virus west nagelfar’ın ikinci ve (maalesef) son albümü. vokalde zingultus (endstille), gitar ve basta zorn (ego noir) ve davul, keyboard ve basta yüce insan alexander von meilenwald’ın yer aldığı albüm hiç 3 kişinin elinden çıkmış gibi değil. albüm üstün alman mühendisliğiyle üretilmiş bir saatlik bir black metal ziyafeti. insanda savaşa gidiş, karanlık ve soğuk gibi duygular uyandırıyor. varyasyonlar ve tekrarlar tam dozunda ve dengeli. davullar gök gürültülü, sert ve öfkeli, gitar tonu cızır cızır ve orkestrasyon destekli atmosfer ile almanca çığlıklar formülü tamamlıyor. yeri gelmişken, almanca müziğe muazzam uyum sağlayan bir dil. aksi yönde düşünenin de kendi düşüncesi tabi. mahler’in “das lied von der erde” veya einstürzende neubauten’ın “fiat lux” örneklerine bakmak yeterli. diğer müzik türlerinde (veya günlük konuşmada) olduğu gibi, almanca black metal’e de destansı biçimde uyum sağlıyor. 6 adet 10 dakika civarında şarkı ile bir kısa interlude içinden kafa sallama şarkısı “sturm der katharsis” mutlak favorim.