Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Naglfar - Téras

Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia

It’s been a long five years since anything was heard from Umeå (Sweden) based outfit Naglfar. But after a lengthy self imposed exile, Naglfar is back with their sixth full-length effort ‘Téras’ – the long awaited follow-up to 2007’s critically acclaimed ‘Harvest’.
As expected, Naglfar (Who are now a three piece comprising of vocalist Kristoffer Olivius, guitarist Andreas Nilsson and guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Marcus E. Norman) haven’t altered their sound and style much in their time away, with ‘Téras’ remaining true to the melodic black metal direction of the band’s last couple of releases.
Naglfar (As well as session drummer Dirk Verbeuren of Soilwork/Scarve) start the album off with the title track ‘Téras’, which is a fairly slow moving song that primarily serves as an introduction to the album more than anything else. It isn’t until ‘Pale Horse’ that Naglfar really hit their stride, with the song moving at a blinding pace that allows the band to unleash all hell upon listeners. Kristoffer’s vitriolic vocals deliver as much venom as you would expect, while the dual guitarists manage to keep things sharp and concise on the riff front. Verbeuren’s contributions are impossible to ignore, with the drums sitting high enough in the mix to make out what he’s doing, which adds to the song’s overall aggressive stance.
Although heavier in places (The guitars sound a little rawer), ‘III: Death Dimension Phantasma’ is a far more diverse offering with its varied tempos, clean lead solos and strong melodic passages, while ‘The Monolith’ is a mid-paced behemoth of a track with a sound that’s epic, grandiose and yet every bit grim and cold at the same time. ‘An Extension Of His Arm And Will’ (Which was released earlier in the year as an E.P.) once again sees the band picking up speed and aggression, while ‘Invoc(H)ate’ lives up to its name, and earns its place on the album as one of the more extreme efforts, and closer to their older sound than anything else on the album. The mid-paced ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ (Which features ex-Dark Fortress/Sindecade vocalist Matthias Jell on backing vocals) is without a doubt one of the catchiest numbers on the album, while on faster ‘Come, Perdition’, the band give the keyboards a little more room in the latter half of the track to give the song a symphonic edge.
Finishing up the album is the moody doom-like black/death effort ‘The Dying Flame Of Existence’, which is not only the big epic on the album (The track runs over eight minutes, and features a reprisal of the title track ‘Téras’ at the end), but is also the real highlight on the album.
If you’re familiar with Naglfar’s more recent efforts, then you’ll know exactly what the band are offering with ‘Téras’. In other words, Naglfar aren’t reinventing the wheel on their latest effort. But while that could be seen as a negative for some bands, it doesn’t apply here. Naglfar know their strengths, and how far they can push things, with ‘Téras’ another shining example of Naglfar’s perfected and polished melodic black metal sound.

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© Justin Donnelly