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The fellatio that is virtual triumphs - 85%

beletty, September 23rd, 2008

Two are the trademarks through which I link this album to von Meilenwald's wonder-kid project that shook the foundations of nowadays' black metal scene, The Ruins of Beverast: the trumpeting accents and the cult for audio samples.

The trumpeting accents are what I call short moments of histrionic thrust as the vocalist pulls out a (surely) longly practiced and well directed theatrical exultation, a charismatic clean recitation. These accents are short of metal instrumentation and make use of actual trumpets (sometimes). What's the big deal with these moments that comprise only a small amount in the album's play time, one would ask. They can be used to spectacular effect, as I will detail an example here:

We all know what a climax or crescendo is. A well composed climatic riff is something similar to an accoustic orgasm. Some compositions repeat several times a climatic riff. Yet only the last of these riffs reaches it's climax. The preceding riffs are blunted just before reaching their highest point in order to amplify the last riff's apogee. Usually this technique uses a riff three times (e.g. Scanner - Across the Universe). The sequence from Nagelfar's album of which I speak employs the riff only twice, but what an effect it makes as the vocalist exclaims rhetorically in the climatic moment of silence: "Die Realittet!"

The metal part of the album involves blazing-fast faded screams following a torrential flush of aquatic riffing spiced with martial drumming. There is one riff on this album that disembowels profoundly on all that is called riff in black metal: 11:20 - 12:35 from the second song. The riff also recurs later in various forms, one of which is techno. This is one of the things that astounds me most at Nagelfar: they interveawe extremely exotic elements with black metal without sounding kitsch.

Von Meilenwald and company carry the torch of black metal high as they uncowardly step and break the profligancy of conventions, the pestilence of same-sounding and the mediocrity that music is usually represented by. 1999 - an year that shall remain crimsonly burnt in the genre's flesh forever.

Stunning example of melodic German BM - 95%

diseasedmind, April 15th, 2008

Black Metal's a curious beast and its fans more curious still with many rigid and often contradictory ideas of what a good BM album should sound like. I like a lot of 'KVLT' BM but I'm by no means a proponent of the 'shittier the production the better' philosophy; the quality of the production should be determined by the needs of the music and what the artist is trying to convey. Sometimes a murky 'KVLT' production might be appropriate though the extremes of this are pretty hard to justify (for example, listen to Taarma's In Death I Submerge, which sounds like there might be something interesting going on...if you could only hear some of it). Equally hard to take though are sterile and over-processed records like Dimmu Borgir's later output. The production on Strongorrth is ideal for the material contained therein: clear enough and plenty of bass but without being over-produced to the point of sterility. The keyboards sit perfectly in the mix. The clean vocals are worth a mention too - in some places they sound a little Urfaust-ish and other there's a hint of Woods of Infinity and even Lifelover. No real connection musically though, just the vocals. The German lyrics really work well from a sonic perspective too - I don't speak German so I can't comment on the actual content, though Alex von Meilenwald seems like a very intelligent guy judging by the Ruins of Beverast interview I read. The scene needs more like him.

One of the interesting things about this release is how it both points up Dimmu's fundamentally BM structure while at the same time shining a light on their shallow teen-pleasing garbage. Nagelfar and other symphonic bands up to and including the worst excesses of the sub (sub?) genre such as Dimmu use essentially the same tool set: a mixture of clean singing, tempo changes and keyboards/orchestration. That's where the similarity ends though; where Dimmu's output is the BM equivalent of Avril Levigne - shallow, meaningless, lacking any real sense of purpose or atmosphere - Nagelfar on Strontgorrth is a great example of how to integrate electronic elements (and even a totally electronic track) into a coherent pure Black Metal whole and produce something which is not only blisteringly powerful but also full of rage, anger, melancholy and haunting melody. If by the end of track 5 you're not humming along to the melancholic riff in the midsection you're probably in need of that Avril Levigne CD I mentioned earlier.

Took off 5% simply because well, the electronic horns sound a little iffy, but really that's a very small point indeed.

I can't recommend this enough.

Epic. Moving. Almost unreal. - 95%

aereus, March 23rd, 2007

I can't believe no one has written a review for this incredible masterpiece. Massive (70:00 EXACTLY on my cd) and diverse, this, in my opinion, is one of the most "epic" sounding black metal albums ever recorded. This is the bands second full length effort and they really nailed thier style on this one... Hünengrab im Herbst was an incredible album, but i've always prefered Srontgorrth for the production and for the diversity they put into this collection of art. For this truly is art. Nagelfar paint an intricate tapestry in your mind with every note the play... listening to this album in the dark is nescessary and listening to it from start to finish is recommended.

Rather than writing boring track by track reviews, i tend to write reviews based on the album as a whole and review what i consider the song that best represents the band's style on that particular album. Kapitel Zwei (Der Sommer) - Die Existenz Jenseits Der Tore is the name of the second track (long enough?) and this is not only my favorite track on the album but my favorite Nagelfar song period. Clocking in at 16:11 seconds this song is really broken down into two parts, at almost the halfway point the song actually stops and restarts. it sounds like a totally different song but don't be fooled... recurring rhythms surface and it starts to seem like a sequel to the first seven and a half minutes or so. The lyrics are completely in German so, no comment. But the MUSIC... holy shit! Throughout this song (and the album)there are many, many changes. Time signatures, tempos and rhythms are constantly in fluid movement... how they write music that shifts so naturally, i will never know. The guitars are generally a blur but this song in particular has great riff after great riff, over and over, for a looong time and after a while, mellower sections will crop up and surprise you with the sheer power and epicness. If black metal existed in the middle ages, Nagelfar would be the band to listen to. Like the rest of the album, the production is very clear for such dense and layered songs... the drums sound amazing here. Who the hell is this drummer and why in the world isn't he more well known? Oh yeah, because he plays in a German black metal band (or did until they split up). It's really too bad the world isn't ready for this kind of music because the drums on this cd need to be heard and the second song has the best performance, i actually think it's the drummer that makes this song so fluid and perfect. The vocals and bass are both audible and also diverse. Shrieks, growls, screams and howls abound and then the clean vocals kick in... again, the lyrics are in German so i have no idea what he is singing about but damn, he has a good voice and he constantly changes his vocalizations. Awesome stuff. As i said, the bass is actually audible and the playing occasionally reminds me of Sweden's Shining. Not one to conform to what the rest of the band is doing, the bassist has really good technique and his riffs stand on their own very well. Also of note are the keyboards: a lot of layering going on here, tastefully done and not overused.

Srontgorrth is definitely worthy of purchase if you like skillfully played black metal art. Probably fans of Limbonic Art and Kataxu will want to check this out... although they dont sound very similar, these bands also come across as epic and grandoise sounding. Nagelfar don't really sound like any other band that i can think of and this is definitely a plus. Go out and buy this today if you can find it, though all three full lengths are kinda hard to find these days. It is worth your while to get all three, but if possible, start with Srontgorrth. More than likely you will be floored.