Nartvind - _Until Their Ruin_
(Painkiller, 2003)
by: Alvin Wee (8 out of 10)
Comfortably lodged in the putrefying bowels of early '90s Norway, this Belgian combo belches forth a surprisingly fetid gust of pestilence, as if to teach the new horde of Burzum worshipping clones a lesson in raw, filthy black metal. This album recalls the halcyon days of bands like Demonic and Countess, a feeling only the most elite of cults today have approximated (read: Mutiilation, early Judas Iscariot). Vaguely reminiscent of the dark rehearsal ambience conjured up by the long-forgotten Raven (Norway), Nartvind manage to stave off sloppiness with their decisive melody and tightness, yet remaining curiously unpolished at the same time. Simplistic, hate-filled dirges owing much to the early underground Norse scene draw up suffocating atmospheres of primal evil, nevertheless brimming with semi-epic melodies, as the soot-choked vocals rasp out ancient maledictions of woe. Too many albums of late have been described as "old-school Darkthrone worship"; reviewers and bands alike should listen to this shockingly ancient sounding piece before passing judgement. Old warriors missing their stacks of demo tapes and bootleg copies will no doubt greet this newfound act with open arms, as should anyone else who finds beauty in Ulver's _Nattens Madrigal_.


(article published 13/5/2003)

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