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[inarticulate yelling] - 90%

LickMyOrangeBallsHalfling, January 9th, 2019

By 1995, black metal titans such as Mayhem, Burzum, and Dissection were making long, grandiose songs, trying to create deep, atmospheric sounds. So what road did a little Swedish band called Nifelheim take in the face of all this? They looked backwards, treading the path forged by '80s black metal pioneers like Bathory, Sarcofago, and Tormentor, as well as German thrash bands like Sodom, Kreator, and Destruction. Going by the example of their predecessors, Nifelheim honed their sound into a bludgeoning, no-frills chaotic attack.

This is ultimately an album that seems to pride itself on its simplicity. The guitar riffs tend to be frantic, almost punkish three chord thrashings, while the drums bash out drilling blast beats. Vocalist Pelle "Hellbutcher" Gustafsson shrieks like a rabid animal, making the lyrics completely indistinguishable, with the occasional exception of the title of the song being shouted during the chorus. And the band isn't shy about being a bit derivative, even of themselves! The chorus of "Storm of Satan's Fire" is the exact same as the chorus of "Satanic Sacrifice" (sensing a theme with the titles?) "Sodomizer" features a guitar lead swiped from "Black Curse." With any other band, this would seem lazy, but Nifelheim succeed in making it part of their charm.

Guitars on this record were contributed by Jon Nodtveidt and John Zwetsloot of Dissection, and while this album is certainly less intricate than any given Dissection album, they still get a chance to flex their guitar muscle, as it is the viciously simple riffs that form the backbone of the album, and are the primary focus. The riffs are front and center in the mix, and the guitar tone is sharp and biting, adding to the abrasive sound that the band aims for. The sense of melody that the guitarists demonstrated in Dissection is present here, as they layer dissonant single-note melodies over the top of their frantic riffing, that are both catchy and eerie at the same time. The guitar solos tend to be brief and chaotic, full of whammy dives and Slayer-esque shredding.

And in the midst of all the aggression, there are some moments that are just downright catchy and irresistible. The intro riff to "Satanic Sacrifice," sounding like a slightly sped up Candlemass riff, won't leave your head for days after listening. The chorus riff to "Sodomizer" is both driving and hooky, propelling the music along.

It can be said that Nifelheim as a band succeeds because they aren't afraid to be shamelessly primitive and derivative of bands that they admire. It works in their favor, and somehow they synthesized all of these influences to create something that is both a love letter to other bands, and a great, worthy document of black metal in its own right.

A Monument Of Black Metal Fury - 95%

DarkRecollections69, December 15th, 2014

Who do you think of when you think of Swedish black metal? Many answers could be given to that question anywhere from Bathory, Dissection, or even Watain or Marduk. The year 1994, the release year of this beast of an album saw such legendary releases as De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and Transylvanian Hunger. Nifelheim, a five piece black metal outfit hailing from Sweden were busy crafting some of the most high octane, entertaining and evil black metal in the underground at the time of such releases. Headed by the twin brothers, Tyrant and Hellbutcher, no one would think that these old guys with receding hairlines would be in such a vicious and ugly black metal act, were it not for their chains and leather, and over the top stage attire.

Despite their efforts, Nifelheim, a band rather highly respected deep in the black metal underground still never really got in the high ranks of many of the heavyweights of the time and still remain relatively unknown among many. Nifilheim, the self tiled debut of this incredible band shows the sheer strength and prowess of this mighty band and makes you scratch your head as to why they never quite made it to such ranks. The opening track The Devastation begins with gritty guitar feedback opening to raging blast beats over Hellbutcher's powerful and angry shrieks with vicious black metal melodies complimenting the mayhem. The remainder of the album continues in similar fashion and never lets up for a single minute. Most the other songs, while sounding similar are packed to the brim with haunting black metal melodies, vicious blasts and catchy but effective choruses. The vocals are some of the best and most vicious black metal vocals I've heard.

One thing that really separates this band from the pack though is the large range of influences present in the music. Although they belong to the second wave of black metal, lots of first wave influences can be heard, notably Venom and Bathory, particularly in the beginning drum rolls of Black Curse and Possessed By Evil and much of the drumming on the album. The band even notes Iron Maiden as a primary influence, especially in many of the melodies present. The band manages to mold these influences into their own craft flawlessly and manage to create a very engaging, chaotic, and devastating listen. Sodomizer, another highlight grabs for the throat right away, being one that will get stuck in your head for days and force you into a headbanging fury. The way the band molds melody with brutality and chaos proves that these underdogs deserve far more credit than they've been given and can easily hold their own or even surpass many of their more successful peers. Anyone looking for some old school, refreshing, and bad ass black metal should look no further. This beast of an album will satisfy even the deepest of black metal purists.

Sadistic fare indeed - 85%

autothrall, April 25th, 2010

One of Sweden's most uncompromising necrocults, Nifelheim basically begin where Quorthon left off with his early Bathory albums, and then proceed to channel Hell directly into your lobes. Unconcerned with progression or technicalities, the brothers Tyrant and Hellbutcher write ugly, ghastly, beautiful anthems of Satanic aggression, loaded with more impaling hooks and spikes than even the band can fit on their lethal stage attire.

If you're looking for a perfect bridge between the raw, 80s speed of Bathory, Slayer, Venom, Destruction and Possessed and the new blackened consciousness of the Norse and Swedish scenes emerging in the 90s, look no further. In addition to Tyrant, Hellbutcher, and Demon, the lineup for this album also includes the two Jons from Dissection. The entire sound of this record is scratchy, fuzzy and grating...supremely hostile. Any of the 8 tracks would make a perfect soundtrack to a stabbing or grisly cult activity, from the grinding frenzy of "The Devastation" to the all out blitzkrieg of "Witchfuck". I can't vouch for ever song's fluid quality, there are 1-2 which take a backseat to the rest, but standouts include the lascivious pounding of "Storm of Satan's Fire", the charging "Black Curse", and the rocking, rollicking melodies of the devil driving "Sodomizer".

This is sadistic fare, a must for fans of the early Satanic Slaughter work or the first three records of Bathory, as the three share a similar dismissal for the more complex work that their peers like At the Gates were producing. Though persistent in its occult, violent vision, not every song on this debut is equally memorable. "Witchfuck" is cool, but not as memorable as the rest, and I only liked one part of "Unholy Death". As for the rest, sheer insanity.

Highlights: The Devastation, Storm of Satan's Fire, Black Curse, Sodomizer


Storm of Satan's Fire - 94%

Noctir, February 9th, 2009

Nifelheim's debut L.P. was recorded in Studio Fredman, in the second week of December 1994. This album features John Zwetsloot, of Dissection, and the cover artwork was done by Necrolord. Not discovering this band until the release of S'ervants of Darkness', it took some time to acquire this album as it was difficult to find. To say that it was well worth the wait would be a major understatement.

Nifelheim begins with "The Devastation". From the first moments, one can feel the old demons being awakened. The production is slightly off, as it is a little thicker than on their other albums, almost with a Death Metal sound to the percussion. This, somewhat, thicker sound adds some bit of a doomy feeling to the riffs. The guitars are thin and possess the old school Black Metal feeling. The vocals are very unrestrained and are similar to Quorthon's work on the early Bathory albums. This brilliant Black/Speed Metal is continued on "Unholy Death".

"Possessed By Evil" shows that, truly, Nifelheim is consumed with the essence of 80s Black Metal, such as Venom, Bathory, Sodom, Hellhammer, et cetera. Yet one thing that really sets this band apart is the Iron Maiden influence that rears its head from time to time. These guys absolutely worship Maiden, and you will find many harmonies and so on, mixed throughout their albums, that display this fact.

This band does not simply rely on blast beats and tremolo riffs to carry their songs all the way through. As mentioned, they really have much more in common with the First Wave bands than their own peers. "Sodomizer" begins with a slower and more ominous tone, until speeding into a frenzy of blasphemy. Hellbutcher's vocals really do sound possessed and, sometimes, has a feeling of sinister desperation. The one scream, about halfway through, is bloodcurdling. This song is one of the more epic pices of the album, featuring great solos and variations in tempo. A dark atmosphere is created in the latter half of the song. This is absolutely perfect in all ways. Some bands go for a 'retro' sound and try to imitate those that came before them. Nifelheim simply embodies this spirit and it comes out, effortlessly, on their albums.

"Satanic Sacrifice" begins with a feeling of doom and dread, accentuated by Helbutcher's tortured scream. In no time, the gates of Hell burst wide open as the song reaches full speed and flames consume all in their path. Strange that some have called this music 'mindless noise', when each song is easily identifiable and contains many memorable riffs. It would appear that some people just didn't bother to listen to the album or, maybe, previewed the first few seconds of each song, at best. People like that don't deserve to listen to such great music anyway.

The epic feeling continues on "Storm of Satan's Fire". This isn't the same sort of 'epic' that one would expect from Viking-era Bathory, for example, but the word is applicable, nonetheless. You really get the feeling of being dragged down to the very depths of Hell. The solos are, as usual, incredibly suitable for this music and the melodies are haunting. This is dripping with old school Black Metal feeling, like blood from a slashed throat.

The album concludes with "Witchfuck". This song features different tempos, from full-on speed to very old school sort of rhythms. At no point during this album does the band run out of steam of become redundant or boring. There is nothing uninspired about this classic debut release. In a sea of mediocre bands, Nifelheim stands tall as one of the elite.

Rotten - 90%

themastertherion, October 4th, 2006

Nifelheim is one of the top bands when it comes to chaos, slaughter of harmony and rotten musicianship (that is what Black Metal is all about in the musical sense, isn't it?). What we've got here is some Old School Black Metal that is uncompromisingly aggressive. Nifelheim has never had an interest in playing "beautiful" music, so you cannot expect their debut to be suitable for the symphonic, melodic, synthetic music loving ears. This album is more chaotic and raw than Bathory's early material in both the musical and lyrical aspects, also much more primitive and militant. Though "Possessed By Evil" and "Sodomizer" show glimpses of some excellent thrash metal, the album in general is built up of old school noise that is bringing the Bathory legacy one more step down into chaos. They never drift into other approaches to music and maintain the noisy old school style from the very beginning right to the end.

Fast and grinding riffs are accompanied by powerful, insanely beating frenzied drums throughout the album. With the addition of screaming vocals, it stands as a monument of studio and concert hall demolition. Nifelheim is the 180 degrees opposite of Bewitched's refined sound and style, and there to satisfy more barbarian Black Metal tastes when they surface.

Recommended to everyone who like to hear some good old noisy Black Metal.