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Nåstrond - Muspellz Synir - 65%

DarkEmperor666, April 8th, 2009

Nåstrond gives us a pretty weird release in general. I have not heard this band before and after reading that their lyrics are Egyptian and Occultism related I was looking forward to listening to this release. Well to my surprise it’s not up to par with other releases from Moribund records, while it’s ‘different’ it’s not the good type of different.

The 2 man band plays a weird mixture of black metal, ambient and even some hints of doom metal. Don’t get me wrong I’m all about listening to new interesting mixtures of genres. But Nåstrond fails to deliver, since the album is not cohesive enough. All the tracks feel like they where put together in installments of 2-3 tracks intended for an EP.

Musically wise, there are few passages that are truly eerie and chilling but they quickly grow boring after repeating them too much. Think of funeral doom metal style repetitive music, but with repetitive slow black metal parts. And the whole album continues like this. The vocals are like a slow growl that blends well with the music with the occasional painful moans, but it would put anybody to sleep, especially if you are expecting something more intense.

I can’t say it has much musical merit, other than attempting to fuse different styles and failing at it. At least the recording quality of the album is pretty decent and you can hear every detail the band recorded.

This is a release that will probably make no impact on the scene, but it might satisfy the band’s fan base.

Band name reminds me of pasta for some reason... - 85%

caspian, May 29th, 2008

One problem with most of the more atmospheric (read: slower, wussier/prettier) stylings of black metal is that they're awfully static; most forest-y black metal rarely gets above 90bpm, most ambient black metal just blasts away for a while then goes to a keyboard break for five or so minutes and a lot of depressive stuff stays stuck on the usual 4/4 beats that Xasthur's been doing for however many years. The end result is that said genres have been awfully stale for some time now.

I liken Nastrond's avoidance of these problems to the way Verdunkeln manages to make quality, otherworldly black metal; mixing the sort of usual atmosphere with, well, big riffs and some sort of non black influences. But whereas Verdunkeln seem to get a lot of inspiration from industrial and maybe even some post-punk (well, could've sworn I heard some Joy Division in there), Nastrond inject a couple of cavernous death-doom stylings into the mix.

Well, I'm probably a bit wrong about that but there does to seem to be that sort of element to it- there's plenty of huge doomy parts that bring to mind a particularly bummed/angry early MDB, for one, with the faster bits being a bit more traditionally black metal. Most of the time it's quite effective, too, the production (which is a bit of an oddity; quite murky but still lots of top end) giving it all a nice sort of atmospheric sheen; although it's oddly inconsistent, the tune "Nastrond" in particular is fairly good, almost professional production, while whenever they slow down things get a bit muddier. Maybe it's the speakers I'm listening to it with, I dunno.

Anyway, this is a pretty good album, certainly tunes like "Fenrir Prophesy" with it's slow, sludgy crawl and various tremelo breaks, and "Svarta Strandar"'s more epic BM stylings sound terrific. It's varied and quite interesting- I guess the main problem is that the songs are a bit too short most of the time. Nastrond often employ some sort of linear structures (as opposed to verse chorus type things), and that's fine by me; however, when they finally break out some furious (well, relatively furious, these guys never get super fast or anything) it never really lasts for very long. It's certainly not a bad thing that they're only doing three minute songs instead of ten minute long snooze fests, however, there's a number of songs on this album (Ior, Mouth of the Sea, Calling the Serpentine) that would be better if they were a little bit longer. Oh well.

Overall this is a pretty cool album, certainly the amount of doom-y riffs here have made me like this album a fair bit. The shortness of some of the tunes is a shame, no doubt, but it's not that bad a problem to have, I guess. Worth getting if you like your black metal.