Nagelfar - _Virus West_
(Ars Metalli, 2002)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
Nagelfar's dynamic, stark and anguished _Hunengrab im Herbst_ made quite an impact on me musically back in 1997 -- hence the 9 out of 10 I gave it. The sprawling, complex song structures and sheer intensity of _HiH_ would be key to a successful follow-up; Nagelfar were able to fully deliver the former, but only partially the latter. As far as intensity goes, your opinion of _Virus West_ is likely to depend heavily on whether you are familiar with _Hunengrab im Herbst_, because while it -is- quite intense, to me it seems to fall a bit short in that respect after _HiH_. The new vocalist carries on with a similar hysterically anguished approach, but doesn't quite reach the same level as his predecessor -- which isn't necessarily going to be a bad thing for a lot of listeners -- and uses less clean vocals. (The album is again entirely sung in German, by the way; do not confuse this band with the Swedish Naglfar.) Instrumentally, the approach is similar too: Nagelfar's attack is ferocious yet subtly melodic, with a hint of doom, technically adept and well produced. The tracks, mostly clocking in at ten minutes each, take you through a variety of riffs and breaks, while the pace remains mostly fast. The mid-paced sections tend to feature some bland riffs and detract from the overall result, which is the album's main drawback. The faster passages really are what this album is all about, and if I were to consider only those, then my rating would have been higher. A good example can be found in "Protokoll Einer Folter", which features some excellent fast-paced sequences and some weak mid-paced ones. The same silly keyboards featured on that track come back to haunt the listener in the following one, album closer "Meuterei", but fortunately they are used sparingly (provided you skip the mid-album instrumental). This track also features some great fast passages and acoustic guitar bits, again illustrating the frustrating side of this album. Still, these weaker sections are few and far between, and the slower and doomier bits are as good as the fast ones. Overall, _Virus West_ is a damn good album full of structurally complex black metal epics, venomously delivered with good musicianship and production; it just lacks a little more consistency and feeling in order to completely step out of the shadow of its predecessor.


(article published 30/4/2003)

8/12/1999 D Rocher 8 Nagelfar - Srontgorrth
3/10/1998 P Azevedo 9 Nagelfar - Hunengrab im Herbst
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