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Nattestid777, March 22nd, 2013

Black Metal originally, in a more pure and true world, was meant to be a cult against the deceiver, false humanist morals, and all the sub-human popular culture. It was born as a “being” who lived in an isolated, distant, occult, cold, and individualistic reality surrounded by the honest nature and silence. By the late 1990s, most parts of black metal had commercialized or sold out to the mainstream media and big, greedy labels, becoming somewhat conventional and devoid of its essence and sentiments. All has become just appearance and thirst for mere money and nothing of what had left the black metal pioneers was saved, or minimally. Besides, the most mainstream and commercial Scandinavian black metal bands overshadow the more true-born underground bands day by day. Nevertheless, even if it doesn’t seem like it, we have to know that black metal is no longer the sole domain of the Nordics. Thankfully, there are bands out there plying their trade devoid of gimmicks, but their success is being stifled by the spectre of their authentic Norwegian ancestors. We only need to look at those overseas countries that do not belong to the European continent.

Nattsvargr comes from the United States and they were born in the far away autumn of 1999 under the name “Nocturnal Abyss”. This band stays far truer to black metal than any of the vast majority of the “(after) second wavers”, who along the way have forgotten what the genre in question was meant to be about. After different and hard changes of the line-up, 4 demos, 1 full-length called “Winds of Transilvania”, and a full-bodied split with some underground bands. In March 2010, Nattsvargr gave birth to a black pearl called “Vinterblod”, released on Nocturnal Abyss Records. This second album I guess represents a sort of “rebirth” in a more suitable “soul”, but far away from the human living world. “Vinterblod” incarnate the the true essence of the band caught from a deep inner, new, dark, and cold beginning in a different form. A new found identity from chaos. The name “Nattsvargr” is derived from the old Norse words “natt” (night) and “varg” (wolf) and is exactly its name which says to us what this band is, a lone wolf that wanders in the silent night through the hidden nature of wisdom. Its ravenous chants reveal the hunger of freezing obscurity and piercing knowledge.

The album is formed of 7 tracks. The first two are “Winter's Final Breath” and “Frozen Ritual” and one can perceive the more true-blue “second wave black metal” influences. Especially, one can find the significant mark impressed by the first black metal of Darkthrone’s period. This is not just a simple and monotonous tribute to the “black origins”, but something really original and it never seems to be a “facsimile” without genuine personality. All is soaked by an overall minimalism and by a repetitive (but never tiring) riffing which emerges from a cold and intimate ambiance.

“Under the Cold Moon” reminds me a lot of “Under a Funeral Moon” of early Darkthrone. Both songs share the same occult, nocturnal, and mystical atmosphere. These two tracks are two solitary moons that shine of the same pure light. In the third track lives the primitive and angry cult of past times; the sharp guitar riffs dominate the music and they tirelessly run fast to take your soul and sacrifice it to an evil force. The rough and grim vocals (Noctir) evoke an arcane black hate that catches your sensitivity. The whole album is full of power and feeling. All that you can do is gaze at the nocturnal eye. “Beyond The Withering Light” is a bringer of that “white glare” emanated by the previous track. The desolate voice of the past gathers our souls and flesh and leads us away from the vain, empty human existence.

In the fifth track we are all embraced by a melancholic and, at the same time, proud solitude. In the isolated, but austere “In The Eye of Solitude” we can notice how the main focus are the guitars, unlike the vague drums which represent a sort of “misty” background. Nevertheless, all the instruments fit so well together; every particular one is distinguishable and we can appreciate all the details.

By “The Dark Awakening” a lost forgotten spirit of old centuries takes life from ancient remains once fallen into an oblivion. This track which emerges from dark shadows is characterized (as is all the general album) by the absence of superfluous, exaggerated, and unnecessary elements. All is pure and essential, but true.

Also in “Vinterblod”, the last track, we can find a sort of “orthodoxy” towards the original black metal “devotion” of past times. This track gives the name to the full-length and it represents the “founding principle” of this work. Maybe “Vinterblod” is the “beginning”, but also the “end” of a new chapter that goes away through fleeting winter whispers.

This full-length is an “emanation” from the deep inner of Nattsvargr’s members and their music is a result of this complex process. Nattsvargr fights against the total apathy of the sheep men towards this world of decadence and against the most low aspects of life and society. Nattsvarg’s art follows a determinate path which reveals a sort of “circular” conceptual structure (the so-called “Ringkomposition”) - everything ends and comes back to the beginning and vice-versa, a black “ouroborus”.

Niche underground music with an implicit and hateful spirit that will make you live a deep sound experience, but only if you will be able to understand it.