Naglfar - _Sheol_
(Century Media, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Naglfar have harvested influences from Dark Funeral and Dissection,
filtered them through they own style, and come out with a damn
enjoyable album that still manages to be just about distinctive enough
to scrape through the minimum required originality barrier. _Sheol_ is
an extremely energetic, dynamic -- and have I already mentioned
enjoyable? -- album that sets quite a few standards in its genre (e.g.
"Of Gorgons Spawned Through Witchcraft", to name just one track). It
contains some amazing high-speed serpentine guitar work a la Dark
Funeral, soaring leads, catchy riffs and vocal patterns, a punishing
rhythm section, and a relentlessness that just won't let go -- a lot
like its predecessor _Diabolical_, only much increased. _Sheol_'s
success also lies in the fact that when it does remind you of some
other band, it almost always reminds you of that band at its best. The
resulting concoction, after being given the Naglfar treatment, is
delivered in such excellent form that one would really have to make an
effort for something like lack of originality to disturb his
appreciation of this devil of an album. _Sheol_ spent quite a few
years in the making (its full-length predecessor came out in 1998,
with only an EP in between), and the maturity of the songs on offer is
apparent throughout. This is by no means some quick rehash of the
band's previous album -- contrary to, say, Soilwork's latest --, and
the track list is free of any weak links. Anyone who seeks well
written, explosively delivered, highly energetic melodic black metal
should derive massive enjoyment from _Sheol_ -- as long as originality
isn't a major concern.
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