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So nowadays, I feel like I rarely see black metal this progressive coming from Norway. SomethingI love about this record so much is the fact that it retains the fire, aggression, and tenacity that the original second wave bands embodied with their music. HOWEVER, this record does us all a favor of creating a clean recording, with pristine sounding guitars, crisp vocals, and a wonderful, icy bed of cymbals.
Nidingr, with their third full length put forth a record with a clever play on words in the title. There is nothing cheeky about their music though. Right away, the record slams forward with a heaping helping of blast beats -- foreshadowing for the rest of the drumming on the album. While Oyvind's drum parts are not overbearing on the blast beat, he shows he is not to hold back his chops and fuck shit up at 250 bpm. Usually I see something like that as distasteful to rely on in a song, but blast beats that big swingy jazz ride sound so goddamn good that nothing could be more tasteful.
The album seems to begin as a very strong presence, but it mellows out, becomes more dark and twisted. Track 3, "O Thou Empty God'' has one of the most wicked grooves ever. Right in the beginning of the song they come out lying all the way down on the open string, and the vocals make a shift to the low register. The feeling it creates in the listener indescribable with words.
The following two tracks, "The Balances" and "Vim Patior," keep the momentum going with some extremely infectious guitar grooves. Although the chord shapes and progressions are nothing new in terms of black metal, Nidingr captures an essence of vitality and originality with the way they channel these foundational black metal chord progressions.
The vocals are a big part of my love affair with the record- I think they're absolutely perfect for the band's sound. Raspy, yelled, fucked up vocals are really the icing on the cake. This guy has versatility too - he shows his ability to perform clean vocals, high and low harsh vocals, and a great presence of voice. He really brings something new to the table with his performance. In "The Worm Is Crowned," it sounds like Garm of Ulver does a guest vocal spot (although he is not credited on the album.) If it is indeed Garm, excellent choice in guest musician. If not, it sounds great anyway!
This album is one of the most memorable black metal releases in recent memory for me. It's jagged glory really embodies everything that is RIGHT about the genre today. I have no qualms or criticisms for this record - only praise.
Fair assessment of an album is a delicate task that requires time and patience, especially when expectations are high. It is in this spirit that I approach Norwegian Nidingr’s newest effort, a band I discovered in 2005 when it released its first album. With strong and experienced musicians, it was able to develop its own musical identity, especially highlighted on Wolf-Father. However, Greatest of Deceivers is less convincing.
Album’s underlying concept seemed promising. Built around an occult theme (title’s first letters are spelling « GOD »), lyrics are denouncing Christian god as an impostor and dedicate his work to public obloquy. However, despite a carefully designed general concept, the music fails to properly support it.
Album starts smoothly with the title track, crossing black, death and thrash metal. Cpt. Estrella Grasa’s voice also clearly belongs to the latter musical registry, words remaining audible although screamed. Several good riffs punctuate this song, which also has a good rhythm and bass lines that stand out and add some weight. Then it spoils.
Despite a large number of plays, I’m still not hooked to this record. By second song, the band seems to run out of ideas and song writing suffers from it. Rhythm becomes hesitant, riffs lack originality and bite. There are some creativity flashes on some tracks, but we always get this persistent “already heard” feeling that quickly causes boredom.
Greatest of Deceivers is an album that suffers from stylistic hesitations of its authors. Musically closer to thrash than black metal, it hardly keeps pace and multiplies tasteless filling sequences. I admit being disappointed with this result, however designed by Teloch, a performer for whom I have tremendous respect. I hope that Nidingr will make adjustments on its next album, because the most recent will take dust on my shelf.
Originally written for Métal Obscur.