Thursday, 31 May 2012

CD Review: Diabolical, by Naglfar (1998)

The second full-length album from Sweden's Naglfar, Diabolical delivers a basic set of nine melodic black metal tracks, competent enough but pointedly limited by the constraints of the genre.

The themes on Diabolical are repetitive and operate within the narrow range of chords that appear in traditional horror films scores. Guitarists Nilsson and Hansson strum away with all the vibrating glory afforded by tremolo picking, and vocalist Ryden pours his souls into the dangers-of-hell vocals. It all melds together within a muddy recording (not a surprise, with no producer credited) that doesn't help to define any hard edges or distinctive features.

The Brimstone Gate refreshingly breaks the black assembly line with a more melodic death metal structure and suddenly a purpose emerges with a defined destination. It is not very well sustained, but on this album, a little bit different is a lot better.  A Departure In Solitude is a soft keyboard-driven instrumental that also break the monotony, but it comes and goes quickly with the wispy lightness of dead leaf falling from a gloomy tree in the dark forest.

Album closer and title track Diabolical ends with tiresome silence and then an unintentionally hilarious appeal to the horned one himself. The trouble with black metal is the unending self-seriousness, and the limited escape routes once all the possible shades of black are exhausted.


Andreas Nilsson - Guitars
MadMorgan Hansson - Guitars
Jens Ryden - Vocals
Mattias Grahn - Drums
Kristoffer W. Olivius - Bass

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Horncrowned Majesty - 7
2. Embracing The Apocalypse - 7
3. 12'th Rising - 7
4. Into The Cold Voids Of Eternity - 7
5. The Brimstone Gate - 8
6. Blades - 7
7. When Autumn Storms Come - 7
8. A Departure In Solitude - 7
9. Diabolical - The Devils Child - 7

Average: 7.11

Recorded and Mixed by Nils Johansson.
Mastered by Pelle Henricsson.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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