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Force of the Devil - 85%

GuntherTheUndying, July 18th, 2010

There are times when the lowest common denominator does the trick; this is one of those releases. Nifelheim are a black/thrash/speed metal group that are held in a pretty noble place for their obvious appreciation of old-school NWOBHM factions while ushering in Sweden's incoming grenade of black metal that soon exploded and indented shrapnel in groups like Dissection or Dark Funeral, for example. It should not be deduced that Nifelheim, despite their lack of thoughtful structuring, are near inferiority: this release is a barrage of shelling riffs, piercing leads, slicing vocals, and an audio aid to bang that head of yours. Why else would they be cited Sweden's blackened speed overlords? Not the facepaint, if you were wondering.

I view "Devil's Force" from a special era of prototypical black metal, which is probably the main reason why I find it so appealing. Are you familiar with the fun, ravenous approach bands like Venom or early Sodom visualized for everyone else? Yea, it's basically up that boulevard: menacing speed riffs, wild soloing, up-tempo structures, rapid know the drill. "Devil's Force," however, seems to be on this interesting bubble using brief NWOBHM moments here and there - think Slayer's "Show No Mercy - that are chunks of gold when the eruption dries out. Nifelheim nails the target whenever a NWOBHM melody appears, as it should be noted they pull it off perfectly, almost like they scored a job-shadow with Iron Maiden at some previous interval; totally awesome and nothing sort of finding the pleasure function of one's brain.

The production, too, is uncooked and raw, bringing the percussion to a festering bombardment of old-school devastation with each and every bash while everything flies in and out like total anarchy, and it suits the band perfectly; definitely one of the most fitting production jobs you'll ever hear. Overall, that's really all "Devil's Force" brings to the table, but there need not be more. For best picks, I'd say "Final Slaughter" is an absolute beast of a track, with a plethora of outstanding solos and nasty thrash riffs colliding vehemently when a riff that has Maiden-worship written all over it drops in and turns Hell into a not-so-bad place after all; it's without a doubt the record's best song.

Sure, every track is written in the same context with an obvious formula in mind, but does it matter? Hardly. Nifelheim goes for the throat in a relentless frenzy of old-school black metal that smolders and slaughters without mercy; sometimes you just have to give up the body. One could say Nifelheim are void of wrongdoings with this formula, and I'm inclined to totally agree. There really is nothing wrong with "Devil's Force" at all, even though its direction is far from a landscaping masterpiece of any sort, but that isn't the point. Prepare for a rampage if this sounds like something you'd like, for it shall kill, kill, and kill again.

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