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Armnatt - Dense Fog

Dense Fog
by Robert Amer at 18 June 2020, 12:24 PM

The mid-90’s: a seemingly simpler time. No smartphones, no high-speed internet, newspapers and magazines were still highly sought-after, and the anticipation of the new millennium was just around the corner. Norwegian Black Metal’s influential second wave also took off in all of its chaotic and infernal glory at this time. Traditional heavy metal is reborn in acts such as ENFORCER and STRIKER, as well as 80’s synth nostalgia in the music of CARPENTER BRUT and PERTURBATOR; so why not the golden days of Norwegian Black Metal? “Dense Fog” is a raw return to the roots of Norway’s chief metal export; it is the second album by Portugal’s ARMNATT and does not disappoint.

One of the famed stamp of the second wave of Norwegian black metal’s sound is the gritty production, and “Dense Fog” honors this tradition while also making the sound clearer; it’s not as muddy as some of its predecessors. That said, the atmosphere is not lost and the vocals by Velnius are particularly chilling and sustain a perfect pitch for the feeling of the defiant tracks. The songs are driving in their repetitions of the unsettling, chaotic riffs as they carve themselves into the ears and psyche of the listener. The guitars are not prone to buzz away in a tremolo in the higher registers like other bands that play a more modern style. Murmuhr’s playing remains in the instrument’s middle and low ranges, allowing repetition and reserved presentation to create a bleak foundation from which the vocals can spew their venom. Tenebrous’s drums mirror the guitars in their straight forward presentation, maintaining a steadfast pulse to the howling, blizzard-like rhythms. The relentless delivery of these songs will transport the listener to the golden days of Black Metal. Top tracks from this quick arsonist excursion include  “Dense Fog,” “Black Devotion,” “Circumscribing The Circle,” and “In The Catacombs”.

Dense Fog” will give traditional black metal fans a heavy dose of nostalgia and the wafting scent of burning wood in this icy collection of tracks. The album flows as one cohesive unit, and while it’s a strong effort, it would be even more compelling to see increased variance in the song structures of future releases while they continue to stick to their well-sculpted sound. Overall, this second album is a good showing for ARMNATT and proves them to be adept purveyors of the classic sound of Norwegian black metal.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. The Flame of Purification
2. Dense Fog
3. Black Devotion
4. Circumscribing the Circle
5. Eternal Night
6. As the Dark Moon Rises
7. Vultfigures
8. Obscure
9. In the Catacombs
10. Echoes From a Distant Past
Tenebrous - Drums
Murmuhr - Guitars
Velnius - Vocals
Record Label: Signal Rex


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