It's been five years since Naglfar unleashed upon the world their last offering, 'Harvest'. Now back after taking a creative break the Swedish Black Metal pioneering protagonists make a triumphant return with their latest aural assault 'Téras'.
This powerful and vitriolic onslaught, from the trio from Umeå consisting of Kristoffer Olivius on vocals, Andreas Nilsson on guitars and Marcus E Norman on guitars, bass and keyboards, is their sixth full length and their best album to date, in my opinion. I have been bursting with excitement about this album ever since the rumours of its imminent arrival started to circulate. Drumming duties on this album have been filled by Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork), whose style and approach has a groove to it that suits this album perfectly.
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It's hard to pick a favourite track on an album of this level of consistent quality, the overall sound a winning combination of the bleakness of early Black Metal and speed and technical skills of Death Metal honed to perfection over the last three albums and the excellent blend of Kristopher's venomous vocals, icy harmonies, epic melodies and excellently constructed misanthropic lyrics.
The album opens with 'Téras', with its haunting sinister groove and equally sinister lyrics and is swiftly followed by 'Pale Horse' which is faster, with a catchy riff to the chorus.
'The Monolith' at six and a half minutes is the second longest track but your attention is maintained throughout. The lyrics are based on HP Lovecraft's 'Cthulu'. The ever popular lyrical theme of the demise and destruction manifests in the equally excellent 'An Extension Of His Arm And Will', 'Come Perdition' and 'Invoc(H)ate' and let's face it, you can never revisit that subject enough.
I found myself singing along with 'Bring Out Your Dead' by the second listen, a track further enhanced by guest vocals from Matthias Jell 'Azathoth', former vocalist with Dark Fortress.
The final track, 'The Dying Flame Of Existence', an epic eight minutes in length, but packed with haunting riffs, emotion, a lot of tempo change and so much going on it couldn't possibly either lose your attention or be any shorter. If you put the album on repeat it joins itself seamlessly to the opening track.
An album with no beginning or end - just brilliant.
I would seriously recommend you go buy this album. It's only April but this is the best I have heard this year and it is going to be hard to beat.
Recorded at the Wolf's Lair and mixed by Mattias Eklund at Toontrack and mastered by Göran Finnberg at The Mastering Room. The cover artwork is by Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquillity).
'Téras' is out now on Century Media.