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Naglfar - Cerecloth

Naglfar
Cerecloth
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 30 April 2020, 10:10 AM

It has been eight long years since NAGLFAR have graced us with their brand of Swedish Black Metal.  This year they bring us their seventh full length album, “CERECLOTH,” that is their first release since 2012’s “Teras.” No one has ever accused NAGLFAR of being subtle, especially since Kristoffer took over vocal duties.  Although they can be melodic, over the years, they have taken the path of being more intense and unrelenting—fast, angry, and heavy as a hell is the name of the game for their most recent output.  “Cerecloth,” doesn’t tread any new ground but it definitely sounds like NAGLFAR and that is all I wanted and expected.

The production stands out to me immediately because it is so goddamn raw.  Mind you, it isn’t “insert random Scandinavian band’s second demo recording in a toilet raw,” but it does retain a dirty, grimy, almost sickly sound that is perfect for their audio onslaught.   “Cerecloth’s” overall atmosphere is pure evil and harrowing, with no room for anything other than to present the listener nine bangers across a scathing 43 minutes.

The opening track, “Cerecloth,” has a brief window of ambient noise showing itself before the riffs kick in, Kristoffer screams, and the drums storm in.  Multiple listens reveal some surprisingly catchy vocal rhythms.   If I’m being honest, this album actually features more depth than such roaring music might be expected to provide; multiple listens will open up the songs and the ears will eventually hang onto a clever vocal passage, note, or even a couple of surprises along the way.   This opening track was the perfect choice for the band to reveal the album to the world because it represents the album’s, as a whole, core sound and it also immediately tells us time and age have yet to deter these insane swedes.

The second track, “Horns,” sounds like a hurricane of guitars and drums that constantly batter the senses.  At first couple of listens it isn’t too far removed from so much as being pure noise but, as I’ve mentioned, the song does take form into an audible trip to hell.   The cymbal and hi hate work is cleverly placed at just the right moments to catch the ears, leading your attention back the rumbling double bass, fast riffs, and an excellent guitar solo.

Vortex of Negativity,” is a very unforgiving song, with the drums pairing along with the guitar to double down on the hammered in notes that are extremely head bang inducing because among all the violence is a slight groove that just pulls you in.  The latter half of the song slows it down quite a bit for a dirge of melodic riffs and some spoken word growls—very effective and makes me wonder why the album doesn’t do this more often because despite their aggression, slowing the song down and being more methodical in their rampaging really does wonders for their sound.

A Sanguine Tide Unleashed,” is probably the most outright brutal track presented on the album.  From the very first note to the last, this song is one non-stop onslaught of pure unadulterated Black Metal.  The vocals are completely venomous, so searing is their delivery.  The riffs pummel and ride along the groove of the vocals for an effective showdown.  If this one is ever played live, people in the pit might just die.

Necronaut,” brings back some more of the methodical approach I mentioned earlier.  It is somewhat of an odd track compared to the rest since it is the most melodic but the darkness is still there—just cast under a different shade.  I found the track to be highly enjoyable and a good break from the other unrelenting aspects of the previous tracks.  In essence, it made me appreciate the other songs more while also being a highlight of its own.  The first minute and half or so is a melodic build up but that old signature NAGLFAR rage finds its way in towards the song’s later half and the two moods play off each other well.

Cerecloth” is worth the eight year wait and it continues NAGLFAR’s ascent to being one of the best Black Metal bands going today.  Fast, angry, destructive, and songs that are hell raisers of the highest order, this album will please longtime fans and surely gain them new ones.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Cerecloth
2. Horns
3. Like Poison For The Soul
4. Vortex of Negativity
5. Cry of the Serafim
6. The Dagger In Creation
7. A Sanguine Tide Unleashed
8. Necronaut
9. Last Breathe of Yggdrasil
Lineup:
Kristoffer W. Olivius – Vocals
Andreas Nilsson – Guitars
Marcus E. Norman – Guitars
A. Impaler – Bass (session)
Efraim Juntunen – Drums (session)
Record Label: Century Media Records
     


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Edited 04 July 2020
 

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