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A melodic black metal band like Naglfar deserves recognition for this one heck of a fine album. Follow up from "Pariah", this one is better produced and each vocal/instrument output is well heard. An exoneration of what is to be amongst the top of their game in this scarce genre of Metal. Rarely do you hear a band with a combination of melodic riffs combined with blast beating and scorching riff overtures that belt into your brain.
The music features melodies that are quite memorable and admirable. The combination of melodic riffs amongst bass lines that ebb thoroughly with remarkable creativity and atmosphere that's dark and dismal. Songs open up with either blast beating belting deep into the cranium. Tempo changes are incredible. Such intensity is featured here and the vocals compliment the devastating riffs.
Each track is memorable featuring tremolo picked guitar riffs that are blazingly fast. But it isn't featured on this whole album, just for the most of it. Best to listen to the songs with headphones so that you don't miss out on any of the melodic guitar mixed with a commanding vocals. Everything seems to flow unabashedly and most of the fast parts are during the vocal lines.
As I said before, this album was well mixed which each instrument flowing well into the core of this evil and solemn concoction of devastating melodic black metal. This is what was missing on their previous release "Pariah", which was also good, but it was difficult to hear the riffs outright. "Harvest" doesn't lack that component which makes it such a gem of a release.
The lyrical department features bits on suicide, death, dying, and so forth. It meshes well with the atmosphere of the album. Dismal topics, but what do you expect from these melodic black metal mongrols? Vocals throughout the album spew forth these hateful lyrics and give it an aura of eerie sounding touch of evil. You can actually understand the vocals without looking at a sheet of their lyrics. Not on every song, but for a majority of them.
If you're looking for something that's in the vein of extreme melodic black metal, then "Harvest" delivers. The music, the vocals, the drum lines are all in synchrony with riffs that are dark and dismal. So many features of this album contain riff structures that are admirable, vocals that are dark/depressing, drum bits with furious beating and bashing high intensity. Pick this one up because it does the Metal community great justice!
Swedish black metal unit Naglfar have released another album of melody fueled modern black metal. Obviously when you hear the term ‘modern black metal’ your mind wanders straight to the realm of Dimmu Borgir or faggoths Cradle of Filth; with Naglfar though there are small similarities towards mid-era and newer Dimmu Borgir, but it’s miniscule mostly with the modern production, vocal approach and usage of more blazing fast solos and lead guitar work. I mean, I don’t listen to much black metal but I don’t rarely often here hyper fast shredding solos like in Breathe Through Me for example.
Harvest has a slickened production and a semi-In Sorte Diaboli feel to it, but that’s because Kristofer Olivius sounds a lot like Shagrath; a vague distorted rasp that is easier to understand over most undecipherable rasps that some black metal vocalists go with. It’s quite accessible and easy to get into; also flowing away from a lot of black metal is the lack of blasturbation; which I suppose is a good thing in most cases. This album, he does a decent job with some really heavy rhythmic blasting and double bass pounding and does vary it up; but overall it’s bland. The best thing about Naglfar has on Harvest is the guitar tone and sound; it’s very crisp and clear cut but at the same time acting like a blade cutting through the air and mixing melody with the harshness perfectly.
Naglfar are a great newer black metal band taking a modern approach production-wise as well as compromising the use of melody quite a bit instead of a raw and dirty sound of nothing more full onslaught. Harvest lets up with mid-paced songs like The Mirrors of My Soul which has a great atmosphere that leads you into several different places, as if you don’t know what’s about to happen. Olivius does a decent job on the slower songs spewing forth some delightfully raspy nonsense into the microphone allowing for more of a unique sound I suppose. The only problem I find with Harvest as well as all black metal, is the lack of variety in the songs and the lack of memorability in songs. It seems like it’s just the same thing blast beats, razor sharp guitars and nothing much otherwise. It’s definitely a fun listen and better than a lot of black metal bands out there today, I’d listen to this over bands like Marduk anyday but it seems that sometimes I wish black metallers would write more unique that are memorable and having something that stands out. The opening to the title track with the heavy bass part, melodic lead guitar work and eerie atmosphere/vocals make for something great though; just when I thought Naglfar should stick with faster upbeat songs I am now changed to thinking the slower mid-paced songs like this and The Mirrors of My Soul is where Naglfar slays.
The best songs here that stick out are The Mirrors of My Soul with it’s strange atmosphere and unique grooves, My Darkest Hour with the catchy semi-sing along part “WALK ALONE! DIE ALONEEE! RAAWR!”, and the surprisingly cool solo in Breathe Through Me. I give props to Naglfar for their unique approach on ‘melodic’ black metal because it’s something that I don’t find often and it’s a change of pace; unfortunately often the songs run together but other than that, Harvest is a decent black metal release for new age black metal worth checking out if you like newer Dimmu Borgir, melodic black metal, or extreme metal in general; although I can see a lot of black metal fans shunning this as well.
As soon as the opening broken chords ring out you know you have something great with this album. Quietly ominous the sound is and gives the sense of an oncoming maelstrom,which is exactly what you get. The first track "Into the Black" explodes after this subdued entry and really takes hold of your mind and refuses to release you for the remainder of the nine tracks. The striking mixture of blackened power and intriguing melody on this album is truly hard to convey in words, all i can say is it sounded to me like the soundtrack to some twisted fairy tale. The melodies reminded me of the kind you may find sounding out from a childhood music box, but corrupted beyond all reason and spewed forth from within a black metal sensibility. This idea of warped childhood is possibly backed up by track 8 "Feeding Moloch", Moloch being an ancient god to whom the Egyptians and Canaanites used to sacrifice children to. Maybe I'm reaching with that idea, but it is true that an album of this quality encourages the listener to impose their own thoughts and ideas onto the unfurling soundtrack.
Backing up this skewed melody are terrific performances from every member of the band. Particularly the vocals of Kristoffer Olivius. I have to say at this stage that this is the first Naglfar album I have listened to and I am aware that there was a different vocalist earlier on in their career. I will definitely be checking out their back catalog on the strength of this album, but can't actually believe that the previous vocalist can match this man. He sounds truly possessed: harsh and unrelenting, the kind of voice that you wonder how he can't permanently suffer from a sore throat! It's high in the mix too, and gives the whole album the extra burst of brutality it needs. For a completely non-melodic vocal style Olivius gives a bizarre sort of swing to his phrasing that actually sounds melodic when in conjunction with the lead guitar lines. This is a great example of the kind of individuality and unique take on black metal that this band has that you just can't get without a lot of personal input into your music.
The other players in the band add a lot too. Bass, rhythm guitars and drums are all unrelenting and give the band it's solid metal spine, whilst allowing the vocals and lead guitars to come to the fore. This works really well as the lead lines are the dark soul of this band, as opposed to being based around the riff. This is one reason why I have always liked black metal: the constant buzz of the rhythm guitar from hell with the melody added over the top (sometimes). This band approaches it in a different way, but the black metal idea is always present.
This album also contains what has to be my favourite song of 2007: The Mirrors of my Soul. Just play it and it immediately drags you in with it's supernatural grove. Big rhythms, great leads and an unleashed vocal, it sums up the whole album. A sample of the lyrics from this song "When I close my eyes I see myself burn in Hell, Anointed in blood, crowned by the damned" sums up where they're coming from ideas wise. The man seems to hate his own existence as much as he bubbles over with misanthropic wrath. None more black!
Overall I'd recommend this album to anyone with any interest at all in extreme metal (especially black). And if you're on this website I'm guessing that that's anyone reading this! It rolls over you with so much power and raging, cursing vocal malevolence that it stays with you even when you're not listening to it. So if you want a melodic, brutal and truly unusual slab of blackness then look no further. Climb aboard the good ship Naglfar!
The expectations for this release were huge. No, not really huge, more like enormous. So after hearing the first song “Into the Black” my chin was literally hanging down to my feet. And so it continues, not a single bad track except for “Plutonium Reveries”, which isn’t really bad but not really as good as the others. That might just be the thing which makes this album better than Sheol, there aren’t any bad tracks. But on the other hand, there is no track on Harvest which is as good as “I Am Vengeance” from the Sheol album. But such tracks as “The Mirrors of My Soul”, “Odium Generis Humani”, “The Darkest Road” and “Way of the Rope” are not very far away from the great track from the Sheol album.
A track worthy to mention is the titletrack. It reminds so much about the first Naglfar album, Vittra. And the Vittra album might be the best they have done alongside with Sheol. It’s a bit slow but the guitar work and the vocal performance is just great.
Harvest differs a bit from their previous album Pariah. For example; the sound which is much thicker, the bass is much more audible and it’s a bit more melodic. But to say that Naglfar have lost all its evilness is like saying that rosters can lay eggs, which I hope everyone knows that they can’t. The lyrics are great as always! It’s so suitable with the music and Olivius growl, it kicks ass!
Besides recommending this great album which probably will be the best melodic-black metal release this year, I want to recommend you to buy the limited version which has a bonus DVD with live tracks, etc. Extremely worth the price!
I was very sceptical when i found out that one of my favourite bands is going to publish out a new album. Sadly, I was very right to worry. The new Naglfar album Harvest is probably the last nail that was needed to crush any hope in me for this band.
The album has it's moments but they are not as many as I would like them to be. Actually only 2 songs from the whole of 9 appealed to me. Now I won't make a song-by-song review, because there really isn't a point. You must hear it to believe me.
Something in this album is missing. And the more I listen to it, the more I find out what. It's the pure hatred and evil that was streaming out from the previous albums. It is gone now. The devilish attitude and carnage are reduced to rubble. From an unique melodic black metal band with it's own distinctive souding the band has turned out to be a mainstream ... shit. Trust me, It hurts me when I write this, but the rage, burning inside me is too big to comprehend. From what I could desipher from the lyrics I am left with the impression that the band doesn't like what they do anymore. The genious lyrics from Sheol are gone. The beauty of Pariah is no more. The melodic guitars for which the band was distinguish are unfortunately almost gone. I feel like listening to some new Dimmu Borgir album (which by the way is a bigger shit than this).
The only 2 songs I really liked from this last installment from Naglar are 'The mirrors of My Soul' and 'Harvest'. They are the only two that still have that Naglfar spirit I was talking about earlier. Why ? I would like to ask the question WHY !? What, two years weren't enough to make a masterpiece like all the previous ones ? The pure black metal that Vittra had cannot be found here at all! It's dead! Gone! Besides the harsh vocal I can't think of another thing that can classify this album as black metal. I am truelly disappointed. Pariah had more potential than this. The other songs were not that bad to just throw away, but I can't think of a thing to make me listen to them. I'd rather have a good old Black God or Abysmal Descend. The reason for this degradation is yet unknown to me. I hate to think it's based on lazyness. I hereby state that I shall not listen to any other new Naglfar album, if there is any at all. When I watched the trailer for the album I was left with actually good impressions only to find a disappointing reality. But that's how things are. I learned not to get my hopes too high, 'cause they may (eventually) turn out in vain.
I give this album a total score of 55 mainly because of the two songs I mentioned earlier. And a bonus 20 points because of the greatly tuned guitars in those two songs. That's my 2 cents.