Nastrond - _Age of Fire_
(Napalm Records, 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (8 out of 10)
This one gets high marks on the strength of its many strange musical twists and weird atmospheres. As on the band's debut CD, _Todeslaut_, basic, raw-sounding black metal techniques provide the sound's foundation, but the songs on _Age of Fire_ are distinguished by strange, oddly memorable structures and numerous unexpected surprises. Case in point: "Vanished from the World", which begins with raw, clunky black metal, then instantly transforms into a weird dark ambient piece including an ultra-deep-voiced lecture about how "History proves that man is a beast of prey." Next song, "The Red Force (of the Trapezoid)" weaves through a maze of weird breaks and creepy, buzzing guitar tones. On the follower, "Emancipation", more buzzing black metal is punctuated with laid back, toe-tapping piano interludes during which two voices, one normal and one sped up, utter occult incantations (or something like that). Two spoken pieces about Satanism (LaVey's atheistic version) close out the album, while Biblical quotation and rebellious exhortation begin it. A couple of these spoken tracks feature some cool synthesizer work - especially "Opening of the Mouth". The vocals are a raw, blackened yell, snarling in the upper-middle range, while the guitars are a loud, abrasive, high-end buzz. There are numerous tempo changes, usually between mid pace and high speed, and in many cases, these changes are sudden and drastic. For my money, the best songs (the ones mentioned above) occupy the album's second half, but the first tracks contain some great moments, too, especially the riff-laden "Womb of Chaos". Interesting stuff: odd and effective, and not quite like any other band I've heard.

(article published 9/4/1997)

7/17/1996 S Hoeltzel 6 Nastrond - Toteslaut
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