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Netherbird - Arete

by Chris Hawkins at 28 June 2021, 12:13 PM

It is hard to believe that “Into the Vast Uncharted,” the last full-length from NETHERBIRD, was released two years ago.  You can read my review of that killer album here: Chris Hawkins' review of "Into the Vast Uncharted".  That being said, it is with great anticipation that I approached this album.  To be perfectly honest, the Melodic Black Metal genre is not normally my preferred corner of the Extreme Metal ecosphere; however, NETHERBIRD has managed to craft a legacy of building on the past, and, like U.S label-mates, UADA, continue to compose immediately compelling compositions dazzle even the most hardened and jaded of listeners.  “Arete” will release on July 30, 2021.

After a short intro by way of “Âme Damnée,” the album proper kicks off with “Towers of the Night”.  What becomes readily apparent is that the band have incorporated some new elements adding new flavors in the mix.  These come by way of some more distinctly brutal riffs darkened by minor chords as well as a more Rock/classic Metal-oriented stance.  That theme of building upon the past comes to fruition via this first full track.  True, that DISSECTION foundation remains firmly intact though NETHERBIRD have truly advanced the torch significantly.  Quite simply put, these Swedish vets are forging into a new frontier and as bona fide purveyors of some of the highest quality Extreme Metal, the listener is thereby rewarded as a passive participant in this process of discovery.

Void Dancer” follows and brings with it an understated sway.  In many ways, it could be viewed as a ballad though more in a BATHORY sense than anything resembling ‘80s Metal.  The following track, “Infernal Vistas,” successfully increases the intensity with a frantic beginning that soon evolves into an über thrashy attack.  Halfway into the contents of this album, it is certainly clear the band has a firm handle on pacing.  Specifically, the cadence between the third and fourth tracks is decidedly prolific leaving a satisfying feeling in its wake.

True, this is a resounding success in terms of modern Metal.  The production delivers nothing short of an epic grandiosity.  Without the strength of the songs to be relied upon, though, that studio wizardry would be the definition of superficiality.

The bottom line here is that NETHERBIRD have incrementally refined their sound into what s perhaps one of the strongest representations of classic Swedish Black Metal.  Like many albums lauded as classics, this is essentially driving music, the ideal soundtrack for a foray into the early twilight hours properly setting the mood for that eerie haze that consumes one at that time.  “Arete” is a spellbinding experience and one that I can definitely recommend to those from all corners of the Metal world.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Âme Damnée
2. Towers of the Night
3. Void Dancer
4. Infernal Vistas
5. Carnal Pentiment
6. Mystes
7. The Silence of Provenance
8. Atrium of the Storm
Bizmark – Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Nephente – Vocals
Tobias Jacobsson – Lead Guitar
Mick André – Bass
Fredrik Andersson – Drums
Record Label: Eisenwald


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