Nastrond - _Toteslaut_
(Napalm Records, 1996)
by: Henry Akeley (6 out of 10)
These guys have a rather creepy sound, one that's fairly distinct from the black metal genre's more established bands. In fact, they remind me a lot of early Sodom, before that band moved in a more orthodox thrash direction. The songs tend to be quite elementary in structure, centering on really simple riffs driven by drumming that alternates between mid-paced and blast beats (though never attaining the extreme speeds reached by bands like Marduk or Setherial). The guitar tone is heavily distorted, and weightier than the standard black metal guitar sound, but it's pretty low in the mix. And although you have to listen closely to pick it out, you can actually hear the bass! The vocals are well done, but standard for this scene. (Some pretty catchy phrasings are worked in, though, and occasional spoken vocals are used to interesting effect.) I like "Lord of the Woods" and "Neuntoter", but overall this CD doesn't measure up to the quality of other recent releases in the genre. The main problem is that most of the songs sound quite alike. Given their simplicity, the album ends up becoming a bit tedious on the whole. Still, it's not bad, and old school purists who aren't into "epic" flourishes and songs about Scandinavian weather will probably dig it.

(article published 17/7/1996)

4/9/1997 S Hoeltzel 8 Nastrond - Age of Fire
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