Adrenaline pumping, the volume turned up, aggression level rising, an imminent inferno… This is the new Naglfar album! The EP “Ex Inferis” of last year was meant as a tasty appetizer for “Sheol”, so the expectations for the new album are very high, especially since “Vittra” remains one of the classics of the genre. And, the Swedish guys deliver! What an album… The title means hell in Hebrew, a wise name for the nine tracks since it definitely sounds as if hell itself broke loose upon mankind.
The aggression on “Sheol” is undoubtedly one of the most extreme that I’ve heard in the last couple of months, and the songwriting is top-notch (as can be expected by these masters of Black / Death Metal). Compared to the previous work of Naglfar, they’ve shifted more towards Black Metal. I dare even say the band’s floating between Dissection and Dimmu Borgir with this CD. I know the comparison with Dimmu Borgir is kind of dangerous, but the bombastic music, the sound and even in the way the vocals are delivered there’s a definite match. But, to my personal taste Naglfar is far better. They don’t achieve the legendary status and capabilities of Dissection, but they’re close… very close.
The opener of the “Ex Inferis” EP, “Of Gorgons Spawned Through Witchcraft”, was indeed a good impression of what to expect. Fast, melodic, aggressive and very dynamic. It’s a bit premature to say whether Naglfar has been able to surpass their “Vittra” album in terms of quality, since it’s an album that’s made far too much rounds in my stereo through the years. But, they’ve definitely come close. In the past couple of weeks since I’ve received this promo, “Sheol” has hardly left my CD player at all. It doesn’t bore for a second, and you’ll hear new elements as time progresses.
The sound is truely awesome. It fits the music perfectly, and it reminds me somewhat of the “Diabolis Interium” album of Dark Funeral. Ofcourse, the guitars are emphasized most, but the blazing drums are fitted in very well too. The vocals have been draped above this solid wall of sound without getting too much attention, but enough to make the music very aggressive.
The final conclusion is easy… This has to be one of the top albums for 2003!