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As the Wolves Died - 91%

Noctir, November 11th, 2011

Nachtfalke's fourth full-length album, As the Wolves Died, was released on Christhunt Productions in 2005. This record picks up from where Land of Frost let off, yet takes things to a darker realm, possessing more of a grim feeling hearkening back to Moonblood. By this point, the band's sound was solidified as a mixture of Bathory-inspired Viking Metal, mixed with pure Second Wave black metal.

The album begins with "Call from Udgaard", which is a simple synth intro, though not entirely necessary. Over the years, many bands got the impression that intros were obligatory, and too few utilized them in a proper manner.

The first song is "Wrath of Old Gods", which sounds like a continuation of Moonblood, consisting of fast tremolo melodies, blast beats and grim vocals. The guitar tone is fuzzier and thinner, rather than the heavier sound that was prevalent on the last record. The riffs flow naturally from one to the next and are haunting in their own way.

"Let Me Die" starts with a medieval intro, before launching into an epic sound inspired by Bathory. It is a mid-paced track that includes some rather majestic guitar melodies. The lyrics tell the tale of a Norse warrior that is prepared for death, not out of any sort of misery or anguish but having accomplished what he set out to do in this world and being ready to fight on in eternity. This song is a bit repetitive, with no real variation in tempo, but the atmosphere is such that any sort of fast section would have been out of place.

"Let me die Allfather
And awake in Valhall
My blood runs for you
That you can hear my call"

"Praise the War" is another song that is reminiscent of Moonblood's glory days, with the only difference being the deeper vocals of Occulta Mors. The riffs are tremolo-picked, but there are parts where the drumming slows down and the song takes on a more epic vibe for a few moments. This song is quite memorable, especially the faster parts, and is easily identifiable as being Nachtfalke.

The full-on Viking metal approach returns on "Midsummer", which really displays a lot of Bathory worship, such as the subtle clean guitar chords that are added in. The riffs are monumental, in a sense, and give off the feeling that something significant is soon to be upon you. This is almost like something that one would expect to hear as you prepare for the final battle at the end of the world. There is one melody near the end, in particular, that is absolutely brilliant. It screams Bathory, but it does not matter. Such genius should be hailed, regardless of where the inspiration comes from.

"When the Wolves Return" has an atmosphere all its own, not really sounding like any of the other songs. It has more of a subdued feel, with a bit of synth to accentuate the atmosphere. The old school drum rhythm is a nice touch, as well.

The next song is a cover of Bathory's "Blood and Iron". Land of Frost was the first Nachtfalk album to not include a cover song, so it was pleasant to see that As the Wolves Died revived this tradition. Keeping Quorthon's spirit alive is a very admirable thing and this band certainly does justice to his work and his legacy. Occulta Mors does a great job with the music and is unbelievably good at reproducing the same tone for the vocals. At times, one could swear that he just took the original and added some distortion to it, as it is very dead on.

The album ends with "Hail the Old Gods", which is an instrumental that really continues the vibe from the Bathory song. It has a very introspective and sombre tone, ending things in a gloomy way.

As the Wolves Died is yet another solid release from Germany's Nachtfalke. With this one band, the legacies of Bathory and Moonblood are carried on with pride and honour. The sound is unique, in that I have not heard any other band mix these styles. Rather than taking the folk-based approach and making something light and weak, Occulta Mors keeps his music rooted in black metal, never forgetting where he came from. This is an essential release for fans of this band or the style in general. Buy this now.

Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com

Better than Land of Frost, but still not great - 80%

vorfeed, September 28th, 2005

This is the fourth full-length album from Nachtfalke, a German one-man band playing Viking style black metal.

I was disappointed with Nachtfalke's last album, "Land of Frost", but this one is much better. Most of the riffs here sound fresh, not done-before, and the songwriting is back up to par. There are a few boring songs here: "Wrath of Old Gods" is a snoozer, "Praise the War" isn't particularly special, and one cannot have a Nachtfalke album without a painfully bad Bathory cover. That said, some of these songs are among Nachtfalke's best.

"Let Me Die" starts off with a bit of medieval-sounding flute, which transitions into a rousing main riff. The Viking-style "HEY!" is a bit overused on this track, but the rest of the vocals are quite powerful and affecting. The lead guitar on this one is great, too -- very reminiscent of the best songs from "Hail Victory Teutonia" and "Doomed to Die", without re-hashing them. This is an excellent song.

"Midsummer" is both melancholy and triumphant, as it tells of the cycle of seasons. This one really captures the feeling of middle-period Bathory, with its soaring guitar lines and thoughtful lyrics.

"When the Wolves Return" starts out a bit bland, but the most aggressive riff on the album can be found here, and Nachtfalke does a great job of alternating it with more atmospheric sections. Again, the "HEY!" is a bit over the top, but it fits well enough for an aggressive song like this one.

This album isn't quite a return to the excellence of "Doomed to Die", and the main reason is filler. If this were an mCD with just the above three songs and the obligatory Bathory cover, it would be a good deal better than it is. Even so, it's still much better than the last album, and is definitely worth the price. Get Nachtfalke's first two albums before "As the Wolves Died", but once you've got them both, this one is worth your time. Recommended.

Standout tracks: "Let Me Die", "Midsummer", "When the Wolves Return"

Review by Vorfeed: http://www.vorfeed.net

Still epic and inventive. - 86%

KayTeeBee, April 10th, 2005

Nachtfalke is the one-man band of Occulta Mors, who also plays in Moonblood. The style here is Epic Black metal, but not in the Moonblood way. While Moonblood's music is extremely raw, Nachtfalke's is a lot more melodic, and not as raw (especially on this latest album). Nachtfalke is well-known for his other albums, and while new opus is still as melodic and epic, it still keeps a quite raw tone. Compared to "Doomed To Die", this release isn't as raw. The production is a bit cleaner, and to make things more epic and medieval Occulta has added more choirs and flute melodies (like in the intro of "Let Me Die", which sounds totally medieval).

I'm impressed to see Occulta isn't out of riffs. Under this project, he's released four full-length albums as well as demos and splits before Doomed to Die, and he still makes some inventive and epic riffs that always deliver a feeling of battle music into the listener. This album has many types of riffs, too. They mostly range from fast and baleful hateful riffs, to mid-tempo battle marches that remind some of the work of Moonblood on "Blut Und Krieg". My only complaint for this album is that more accoustic melodies are needed at times, to create an even more epic and heroic atmosphere. The choirs are still amazing though, they add a huge "Battle Music" ambience to the music. The riffs may seem a bit repetitive at first, but after listening to this tons of times, I can unhesitatingly affirm that this album doesn't get old.

In conclusion, this latest Nachtfalke album will do nothing but please the bands of the genre and this artist, even if some huge epic metal fans may think this isn't epic enough in certain places. A must-have for fans of Epic BM and/or this band.