Naglfar / Harvest

Harvest (Bonus Dvd)

Naglfar formed in 1992. The band was originally called Uninterred, and was founded by Jens Rydén on vocals and guitar, and Kristoffer Olivius on bass. The band had its first full line-up when Ulf Andersson from Nocturnal Rites joined the band to play drums, and Morgan Hansson and Fredrik Degerström joined on guitar. With this new line-up Jens could concentrate on vocals. In March 1994, Fredrik left Naglfar due to personal issues with the band as well as musical differences. Soon afterward Ulf left the band as well so that he could concentrate on Nocturnal Rites. It was during this tumultuous period which the band was writing and recording their first demo in Garageland Studio, titled Stellae Trajectio. The demo was released in November 1994. Before it was publicly released, however, the band officially changed their name to Naglfar.

In early 1995, the band was signed by Wrong Again Records, and that summer they released their debut full-length album, Vittra. After the recording was over, Mattias Holmgren left the band. Other than appearing on an Iron Maiden tribute CD (they performed the song “The Evil That Men Do”), the band was relatively inactive for the next few years. Their second album, which received strong reviews, was titled Diabolical and released in 1998. After more line-up changes, Naglfar recorded an EP called Ex Inferis, and a full-length called Sheol.

In 2005, the full-length album Pariah was released. With some of the best production values to date and more imaginative song formats, this album was impressive to old and new fans alike. The album was followed by a highly successful tour together with Dark Funeral across Europe, as well as several festival dates.

In December 2005, Morgan Lie was confirmed as the full bass player for the band. “It’s now official. Morgan Lie has joined the ranks permanently as our bass player. He’s been handling the live duties exceptionally well, and also has been contributing with music for the new album, so it’s our pleasure to welcome him into the band”.

In August 2009, the band announced on their myspace page that they were about to begin recording the new album, without mentioning any planned date for release.

The Analysis:

Into The Black—-Beginning rather congenial, and slowly building to a mind numbing dementia, you have no doubt that you are in the middle of classic Swedish Black Metal mastery. This has a remarkable melody line…and the vocal is incredibly and surprisingly clear. this is a true joy…delivered with a remarkable accessibility yet a brutality that you could only hope for, this older release has become one of my favorite ‘new’ discoveries!

Breathe Through Me—-Giving you just a few moments to catch your breath, you realize that the short intro song was just to whet your appetite. This track enters and is resplendent with sounds that make you think of the true greats…I want to grab my favorite Gorgoroth or Emperor after listening to this release. This is delivered at times breakneck, at other times in a pretty damn accessible form that is full of contagious melody. I can only wait with bated breath for the next chapter from this band.

The Mirrors Of My Soul—-What I really like the most about this band…beyond the heavy delivery and the remarkable vocal is the fact that this band does not necessarily depend on any kind of Satanic imagery to get its point across. These lyrics are full of real, human emotions that anyone can read and relate too. The music might not always be accessible to everyone…but the sentiment is very real and human to me.

Odium Generis Humani—-This was the track that first got me interested in this band. This is literally layered with levels of intensity that will almost cause you to tear your hair out. This is delivered with relentless speed and vehemence that is seldom copied in the Black Metal world. This is as good as anything that Gorgoroth has managed to produce for years…and just when you feel like you are going to go mad, along comes this remarkable melody that brings the entire damn thing into focus. This is not just an onslaught of noise…but one delivered with focus, purpose and a musical ideology. Just incredible!!!

The Darkest Road—-Again, the band gives you little time to catch your breath before the mayhem begins anew. the vocal is amazing on this track…the opening scream is a good as anything you could expect from Dani! This is layered with some exceptional noise…the drums are so freakin’ huge…the bass is deep as hell and the energy is like 5 hour energy x’s 10. There are some really nice downshift and tempo changes in the song that catch you off guard and full of anticipation. this is more than a noisefest…this is MUSIC!!!

Way Of The Rope—-From the onset, this delivers a much more mainstream Metal sound….until the onslaught of vocal enters and transports you back to the cold Icelandic wasteland of the origin. Again, though this song has a remarkable melody line that runs through the entire thing…to me, this is musical talent. At times this reminds me of early Satyricon….before they became more of an Industrialized Metal band…this is layered with noise, but never looses that melody line throughout the song. This is fantastic….even when all the forces come together and you are on the floor wiped out from the delivery…there is still a melody that revives and sustains you. Just incredible!!!

Plutonium Reveries—-With little time for introduction, this smacks you in the gut with a double fisted punch that will leave you gasping for breath. this is incredible and reminiscent of the best Gorgoroth that you can imagine. The only missing element is the overt Satanic messages,,,but the music works remarkably well without it. this is classic, Norwegian Black Metal that few bands these days come close to replicating. There is no overt symphonic sounds overproduction additives…this is straight forward brutality that will leave you fully satisfied, hard as a rock and waiting for the next intimate encounter….BECAUSE MUSIC MATTERS!!!

Feeding Moloch—-Beginning in a rather congenial manner, the song slowly develops and becomes a nice huge overture of glacial sounds. This is a remarkable track…the vocal is full of that icy feeling that reminds you how much you love this shit…the drums are all encompassing…taking control of the song and almost leading it. The breaks and the slight manipulations of sound remind you that there is much though put into the mechanics of EVERY song…this is artisrtic…true and full of a vigor you have not experienced since Into The Darkside Eclipse!!!

Harvest—-Ending the release in a huge, grand epic manner, the band and the vocal is a classic delivery of everything that defines the Norwegian style. This track, right from the onset, reminds me of the very early days of Dimmu Borgir….before they discovered orchestration and overblown sounds. This is a pretty damn remarkable and epic track. The delivery and overall sound is cold as ice…the vocal is fueled with gentle shovels of coal that set it on fire and it increasingly becomes stronger and more embittered. This is a freakin’ masterful end to a most incredible release…hurry up guys…’s been 4 years already!!!!

***** out of 5


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