Nattstrype - _Where No Life Exists_
Nattstrype - _Skapad Ur Morkrets All Helveteskap_
Nattstrype - _The Art of Misanthropy_
by: Pedro Azevedo (3 / 3.5 / 4 out of 5)
Nattstrype waste no time in setting their rules: grim black metal, fast, cold; yet with considerable emphasis on guitar work and a production that doesn't actually -try- to sound rotten. The first demo _Where No Life Exists_ is mostly by-the-numbers Immortal-ish black metal, a young band coming up with a pleasant but unoriginal set of tracks. The songs are technically competent, and the songwriting works well on pace changes and remains interesting. The real downside to _Where No Life Exists_ is its lack of originality, which can to a certain degree be forgiven in a band's first demo. In some passages they already show reasonable individuality, but overall this is just a passable demo.

The band's second demo _Skapad Ur Morkrets All Helveteskap_, in spite of some production problems and the absence of a bass (which is actually rather prominent in the first demo), carries a bit more of a feeling of its own. Its two tracks drop some of the Immortal cloak, instead bringing to mind _Transilvanian Hunger_ era Darkthrone (a bit too strongly in the second track, if you know what I mean). This is due to the subdued melodies and a touch of despair that is apparent in the music -- although it still is quite a bit more dynamic and less repetitive than the aforementioned Darkthrone disc. Even though the first demo had some good moments, overall the second shows some improvement and provides a more interesting listen. Quite a shame it was cut short at only two tracks and marred by production difficulties.

Nattstrype's new demo _The Art of Misanthropy_ moves things in a slightly different direction again, combining Immortal and Darkthrone influences with more individuality, some doomy passages, and more variety than before. The sound is quite good considering this is a black metal demo, and the playing is adequately tight. _The Art of Misanthropy_ strikes me as a combination of most of what made the previous demos interesting, consolidated and delivered with superior quality and some more unexpected touches. The fast sections have been honed, and some work seems to have gone into improving the slower passages as well, which are also used more frequently now. Nattstrype again manage to come up with some pleasantly icy melodies on this third demo and combine them with those slower, more atmospheric passages for good effect, creating a stronger overall result -- the band is even capable of closing the demo with the unusual but very moody "Forruttnelsens Kammare". They aren't about to break any moulds just yet, but if Nattstrype continue progressing at this rate, then they are bound to come out with a worthwhile commercial release any day.


(article published 28/4/2003)

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