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Derivative? Sure. Good? You bet. - 90%

Valfars Ghost, October 8th, 2016

Nordjevel's debut album might not offer anything the black metal faithful haven't heard before but the music it delivers is strong enough that no one should care. When you're as good as these guys are at thriving artistically within a specific genre's confines, any lack of originality can be easily forgiven. Cold, memorable melodies, solid tremolo picking, powerful blast beats, hateful harsh vocals, and a clear production job that still manages to bring out the malice all merge together to form what promises to be one of the best black metal sonicscapes of 2016.

Nordjevel is of a highly melodic character. Through much of this album, the guitar plays some soaring melodies, sometimes in the form of buzzing tremolo lines and sometimes in the form of stately riffs. Rendered in a crystal clear tone, the guitar provides a semblance of order, grandeur, and sometimes menace to compliment the more blistering rhythm section and giving the songs an epic, adventurous flavor.

The one thing this album has that might actually take a first-time listener by surprise are these abrupt stops in the music that come up in 'The Shadows of Morbid Hunger' and 'The Funeral Smell'. In both instances, a passage comes to an unexpected end and a moment where all but the drums fall silent takes over before things pick back up with all the disciplined savagery from before. The stops seem like attempts at smuggling a trick from the jazz playbook into black metal (Ssh, don't tell anyone) and they're monstrously effective at injecting a little more drama and intrigue into these compositions.

There isn't much else to say about this release, seeing as how it doesn't include anything terribly novel or unexpected. Don't let that fool you, though, because Nordjevel pulls some solid ideas from the overtapped well of traditional black metal inspiration. Not especially creative, the band makes up for that deficiency with an undeniable skill in wringing some thrills out of a genre that's seen so many wannabes struggle to do the same, to no avail.

Expertly accomplished second-wave BM - 96%

slayrrr666, February 3rd, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Osmose Productions (Digipak, Limited edition)

The self-titled debut release from Norwegian black metallers Nordjevel is pretty much exactly second-wave Norwegian black metal of the highest order without much difference of execution. There’s not a whole lot here that separates the band from their countrymen peers pumping out the same kind of quality two decades ago, being expertly-designed and executed black metal full of ripping tremolo-picked rhythms soaked in brimstone and hellfire that sounds positively explosive in this dynamic mix. Buzzing along at a tight, frantic tempo which gives this a definite melodic air against the more ravenous and vicious rhythms that are much more prominent here. Still, the melodic undercurrent here is still very much a part of the attack as the buzzing rhythms create a more melodic base against which it can securely meld these vicious riff-patterns and utterly chaotic drum-blasts that tend to make the music all the more vicious and engaging as it features both rampaging full-throttle riffing against infectious melodic harmonies. While it can be said that there’s nothing all that original here about the band being so blatantly and openly aping that sound and aesthetics throughout the album here, it’s a moot point here being as fervently enthusiastic and engaging here as this is the only real flaw within their music and it gets lost quite early on as its drowned out in a sea of passionately-played, competently-executed riffs and melodies that make for an immensely enjoyable effort from a promising new project.

The first half here expertly displays what’s featured throughout this one. Opener ‘The Shadows of Morbid Hunger’ features an extended howling-wind intro before blasting into vicious drumming and ravenous swirling tremolo-picked rhythms along surging up-tempo paces full of buzzing riff-work and dexterous drumming keeping the intensity in check throughout with the blistering tempos into the droning-sampled finale which makes for a wholly enjoyable and impressive opening here. ‘Sing for Devastation’ takes a more melodic sprawling tremolo riff into a dynamic and rather frenetic mid-tempo run with fervent melodies and dynamic drumming that continues along at a steady pace with the tremolo rhythms augmented nicely by the melodic tendencies in the final half for one of the album’s better efforts. ‘Djevelen i Nord’ offers a simple melodic series of swirling riff-work and plenty of dynamic drumming that takes the melody-driven tremolo-picked rhythms nicely along the intense blasting drumming as the sprawling melodies surge through dynamic charging tempos loaded with intense riffing into the up-tempo finale for yet another impressive effort. ‘The Funeral Smell’ features pounding drumming along with stylish up-tempo tremolo riff-work bouncing along at a feverishly up-tempo pace with plenty of blasting drumming and melodic riffing buzzing along to the frantic tempos with the clattering drumming working into a ravenous final half for another furious effort. ‘Denne tidløse krigsdom’ blows through the air-raid siren intro into bristling double-bass blasts with ravenous tremolo-picked riff-work and tight, mid-tempo rhythms that continually blaze along at varying up-tempo paces as the swirling tremolo-picked riffs buzz through vicious patterns into a more melodic finale for an incredibly enjoyable track.

‘Blood Horns’ takes a steady, bombastic mid-tempo approach with chaotic drumming blasting through the furious tremolo-picked riffs full of up-tempo blasting alongside those swarming rhythms as the urgent rhythms and intensity packed into the furious and frantic mid-section further the vicious final half makes it a true lasting highlight among the already impressive offerings. Offering back-to-back blasters as ‘Det ror og ror’ takes a swirling melodic riff into a rather frantic mid-tempo series of swarming tremolo riffing as the blitzkrieg-style drumming continues blasting throughout the feverish speed-driven sections full of melodic harmonies amongst the blinding speed continually blasting along throughout the finale for yet another stellar highlight. ‘Når noen andre dør…’ features sparkling tremolo harmonies against the blasting full-throttle drumming that takes a more vicious run away from the melodic qualities in the mid-section full of furious riff-work alongside the utterly punishing drum-work that manages to bring back some melodic rhythms in the still-frenetic final half for an overall impressive outing. Lastly, the epic ‘Norges sorte himmel’ features a melancholic riff against droning militaristic drumming that settles into a fine mid-tempo march with the swirling tremolo melodies and pounding drumming that successfully adapts to quicker tempos with more furious riff-work and blasting drumming carry the devastating mid-tempo pace along with the occasional solo section or mid-tempo break as it settles into a relaxing piano-led finale for a rather enjoyable slower-paced offering. Their album-closing cover of the Slayer classic ‘Raining Blood’ offers a lot of the same riffing and speed but loses a lot of the engaging heaviness going through the notions here as the varying riff-work comes off enjoyable if slightly obvious in the final half which ends this one on an overall fun note.

This one turned out to be among one of the most faithful and utterly engaging second-wave worshipping bands in the genre, and that this one is only their debut immediately makes them top contenders right out of the gate with what is easily an essential release for anyone remotely interesting in traditional black metal fare or looking to rediscover the glory days of the Norwegian scene.