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Netherbird - Into the Vast Uncharted

Into the Vast Uncharted
by Chris Hawkins at 09 September 2019, 9:42 PM

NETHERBIRD has a long, fervently rich history.  The band was formed in Stockholm, Sweden in 2004 by Nephente, Bizmark, and Grim.  Originally, the band functioned as a three-piece choosing to hire studio musicians to record with.  “Into the Vast Uncharted” is the band’s fifth full-length and they have previously released six E.P.’s.  There have been a number of lineup changes over the years though the core of Nephente and Bizmark have remained intact.  They are now joined by Fredrik Andersson on drums who previously played with the inimitable AMON AMARTH.  Now signed to underground powerhouse label, Eisenwald, the home of UADA and TOTAL HATE, the band stand ready to unleash “Into the Vast Uncharted” upon the world on September 27, 2019.

Upon diving into this new album its strength is immediately found in its huge production.  with this recording, each instrument is splendidly captured in its individual glory.  The drums are bombastic like constant artillery fire raining throughout.  The bass is not buried under the mic but rather exists a a robust, constantly-pulsing force of low end.  Vocally, things are not overpowering but rather a happy medium is created between them and the instruments.  The guitar work is the true delight, however.  The band uses their advantage of having three guitarists to full effect.  Great riffs are made grand with judicious use of layering.  Especially in Melodic Black Metal of this sort, multiple guitar riffs form the basis of the songs and the production found on this album allows them to blend exceptionally well.  Ultimately, it is as if a gargantuan, impervious wall of guitar is created and to the benefit of the songs themselves.

The album begins with the epic and majestic “Saturnine Ancestry”.  The track erupts with a DISSECTION-like intensity as the band flaunt their Swedish ancestry.  The double bass work adds a hyper intensity to the track giving it that extra kick (literally) that truly sets it apart.  “Mercury Skies,” the third track, contains a compelling use of melody.  nearly nine minutes in length, the song goes through many peaks and valleys along the way.  There is a haunting atmosphere that manages to pervade throughout aided by multiple guitar harmonies.  Toward the middle, a brief acoustic interlude brilliantly sets up a truly captivating guitar solo, one that is devoid of wankery and full of necessary melody.

The fourth track, “Lunar Pendulum,” is a mid-paced affair.  Crafted delicately with slicing minor-key riffs, the song truly opens up during the chorus.  It is an engrossing grandeur that is achieved by the thick layering of instrumentation.  The melodies manage to bury themselves deep within one’s brain so that each successive spin is a satisfying act of rediscovery.  The following track, “Eventide Evangel,” is perhaps the most shocking song on the album.  Largely led by an immensely pleasing acoustic passage, things do however get heavy in the NETHERBIRD style after the middle of the song.  The end result is an enchanting composition that though it first seems unconventional, eventually resolves in grandiose might.

Any fan of the more melodic bands of the Second Wave Scandinavian Black Metal scene will surely appreciate this new release from NETHERBIRD.  The band have successfully drafted seven tracks that lead the listener down a varying path of emotions and melodic ideas.  It is truly difficult to resist the grandeur inherent with NETHERBIRD’s stately, immense, and intense sound.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Saturnine Ancestry
2. Harvest the Stars
3. Mercury Skies
4. Lunar Pendulum
5. Eventide Evangel
6. The Obsidian White
7. Nexus of Unlight

Bizmark - Lead Guitar
Nephente – Lead Vocals
Nord – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Tobias – Lead Guitar
Micke André – Bass, Backing Vocals
Fredrik Andersson – Drums

Record Label: Eisenwald


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