Band – Nattverd
Album – Styggdom
Country of Origin – Norway
Genre – Black Metal
Release Date – January 31st, 2020
Label – Osmose Productions
Author – Benjamin Boggs
This afternoon, I am sitting down to share my thoughts about this magnificent album. The wind is whipping and the snow is coming down steadily here in the Mitten State. Ah yes!!! Perfect weather for some black metal!
This album has been my go-to listen on a daily basis. It’s tight, it’s fast and it’s mean. Eschewing the traditional jar of bees mix that so often decorates black metal, Nattverd opt instead for a crystal clear recording where every instrument has a voice, and that voice is a summoning!
Right from the start, we are plunged into a seven minute bruiser, “Slakt Dem, Der De Loeper Hodeloese Rundt Baalet”. Our journey into this hellish soundscape greets us with the sound of funeral bells, shrieking and a frantic introduction before going for the throat. This has just about every element that I look for in my black metal. Drums thundering underneath the rumble of bass and the wall of guitars creating an apocalyptic scythe across the mix. Every instrument has a voice in this chaos, which is a huge credit to engineer Christer Krogh and the band themselves. What stands out most to me in the immediate, is that ex-session drummer, Serpentr has taken on vocal duties. His range stretches from an unhallowed tortured growl to a shriek of pure maleficence.
The slimy, groovy dirge of next song, “Dragsvoll” kicks right into an apocalyptic gallop not too far separated from a stomping shuffle. What catches me the most are the dynamics on this album. It’s always white-knuckled, intensity on eleven, but the band experiments often with tempo and instrumentation. Random instruments drop out frequently and are reintroduced to the maelstrom piece by piece. This technique is best showcased right in the middle of track “Gatelangs i land og rike” and truly makes for an exciting listen. The dissonant guitars add a sonic foundation for the drums to drop out, move to a straight 4/4 beat and then kick into overdrive.
And this is where things take a turn for the darkness. Stand out track “Gamle Erik” is a warped droning complete with the chanting of children. Absolutely spooky, and definitely important to the flow of this album. This is a turning point for me, as the album feels as if the theme changes from a reckoning to a reflection. Finally, we reach the album’s majestic closure, “Gamle Erik”. Expressing more melody than anything on the album, it creates a bleak atmosphere while exploring Nattverd’s aforementioned dynamics. It’s an impressive piece and perfect crown to an absolutely incredible album.
If you’re like me, you like your black metal cold, grim and menacing. This album offers that hand down. Norwegian black metal, in my opinion is more than a label. It is a sound, a spirit, an attitude. These guys are hellbent on bringing traditional malevolence to the sonic sphere, and this tome is an impressive body of work dedicated to the dark. I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t make my top 10 of the year.
Biography: Benjamin Boggs is the vocalist of Drink Their blood. He is proud to be a part of the MoshPitNation writing team.