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Nidingr - The High Heat Licks Against Heaven

The High Heat Licks Against Heaven
by Gabriel “Svrtr” Zimmerman at 04 May 2017, 8:37 PM

Sometimes there is nothing quite like kicking back and blasting some Scandinavian metal, something like Swedish death metal or Norwegian  black metal. Both are renowned for their capabilities technically  and song structure, and as such Norway’s when I turned on NIDINGR’s newest release The High Heat Licks Against Heaven going in only knowing that they created black metal I had some high hopes. The band definitely has the musical capabilities that can be heard in their songs, their technical skill never coming into question. However, never once did a song really capture my attention. Interesting concepts and great ideas that were lacking in their execution were everywhere, but what you hoped to create can be plagued in the process of concept to creation. As such, I will dive right in instead of talking superfluously.

The album opens with “Hangaguð”, and opens fairly immediately being that you are blasted with the beat less than 5 seconds in. However, the riff you hear, while clearly audible and unique, lacks in substance when listening. There are also a great deal of stretches of chords thrown in that seem as if they are trying to create variance, but their arbitrary appearance and irrelevance to the song only really detracts from it in my mind. The dichotomy between a more complex lead guitar and the backing riff is nothing new, but here they seem to work against each other rather than to support each other. There is a sudden shift in tone that dials it back and makes you wonder if perhaps it is the chorus, but you are only to find it is the end of the song and you are left wondering if it actually is the end of the song. It never feels like a song truly started or finished on the opening track.

“Surtr” opens similarly in that it almost feels like the previous song never ended but simply went silent for about a second before restarting. Here there is a more apparent sense of harmony and the parts of each member come together more clearly, the vocals feeling more in tune with the melody of the song and the lead guitar and rhythm guitar working together better with the arbitrary use of varying chords not being here. Instead it feels structured and intentional.  However it ends the same way, in that you can only tell the song ended for the brief moment of silence. From start to end there was very little variance in the riffs and beat, with the best way of putting it being that the song felt like one very long verse. Again, “The Ballad of Hamther” is the same way, though slightly less so than before again. There is more variance, though brief as it is, as well as it is still more harmonious than the first song. Yet it does not change in that it never feels like its own song and still feels like a continuation of the last, though the beginning here is far more pronounced and noticeable with a soft spoken word ending. It does just end suddenly but it makes you feel like the song actually ended.

The problem is I could go on like this. There are very few moments in a song that make it feel unique and properly different from other songs. A decent riff in “Sol Taker” here, the slow gradual buildup of an opening and a stretch of spoken word in the bridge in “Heimdalargaldr” there, you get the idea. There are a couple of exceptions, the main exception to this rule being a weird sort of jazz fusion on “Gleipnir” for lack of a better term at the least. It is interesting but seems to have  no place on the album as a whole. Both “Yggdrasil” and “Naglfar Loosed” are far more melodic than anything else on the album, creating a sense of gradual creeping doom. In fact, I very much enjoyed these two songs more than anything on the album, with their intelligent riffs, strong structuring, and great tempo.

“Naglfar Loosed” is almost certainly my favorite track on the album.  There is also the employment of a female singer with a great operatic voice used here that really accentuate the album. Sadly though, besides this, “Yggdrasil”, “Heimdalargaldr”, and  I suppose the highly experimental “Gleipnir” no song feels unique on the album and the aforementioned small parts of individuality are here and there.  The band definitely has individual skill and there are some great ideas all throughout the album, but they are buried in poor execution with quite a few of the songs. I would certainly suggest that you listen to the album and get a gauge for yourself, but my word stands. If you do listen, at the very least listen to “Naglfar Loosed”  and “Yggdrasil”. I wish the band best of luck and would certainly love to hear their future works as the potential more than certainly exists, and I am sure that they can improve and make great releases.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Hangaguð
2. Surtr
3. The Ballad of Hamther
4. On Dead Body Shore
5. Gleipnir
6. Sol Taker
7. Ash Yggdrasil
8. Heimdalargaldr
9. Valkyries Assemble
10. Naglfar is Lossed
Øyvind Myrvoll - Drums
Teloch - Guitar
Captain Estrella Grasa - Vocals
Sir - Bass
Record Label: Indie Recordings


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