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Lords of Black Metal - 100%

EvilSeruMagic, January 17th, 2012

There was a time when Setherial was at the top of the food chain in the black metal genre. Setherial's first album, Nord, is still fondly regarded by many as one of the best black metal albums out there. Unfortunately, Setherial's later releases started to spiral down into an awful, generic mess, reaching its worst with Death Triumphant. But before Setherial started their descent into mediocrity, they released a masterpiece titled Lords of the Nightrealm, their sophomore album and followup to the still one of a kind, Nord.

There is not a single lackluster song in Lords of the Nightrealm but some songs do stand out more than others. Satan's Realm starts the album off with a sinister throaty scream and dark riffs that surround the atmosphere with evil. One cannot help but feel vicious when listening to it. Summon the Lord with Horns and Diabolus Enum are other favorites of mine here, too. Many good albums from other bands have at least one or two songs that are skippable and not worth listening to, but Lords of the Nightrealm does not have that downfall.

In my opinion, the highlight of the album is the vocal ability of Kraath. It is a shame that he did not continue his position as vocalist in future albums because it is where his strength lies. They are throaty and deep enough to sound evil while not sounding like something from a goregrind band, but are not high enough to be considered cringe-worthy like Wrath's vocals for Setherial's Hell Eternal. Kraath also has some very impressive bass guitar skills. The fast-paced picking of the bass goes well with Moloch's pounding of the drums and creates a sinister atmosphere with the shredding of Mysteriis and Choronzon on the guitars. The sound production also helps create the dark and evil atmosphere so welcome in an album like this. It is grimy and raw, not clean and crisp with high production values. This really adds to the darkness of the environment. One can easily imagine the most evil and demented things possible while listening to this album.

In summation, Lords of the Nightrealm is a stupendous black metal album from the glory days of Setherial. For those who need proof that Setherial was not always just a generic black metal band in the ranks of so many other uninspired wrecks, then give this album a listen. It should be in the collection of any fan of the black metal genre.

Lords of the Nightrealm - 5%

Noctir, October 15th, 2011

Lords of the Nightrealm is the sophomore effort from Sweden's masters of mimicry, Setherial. While their first record was clearly intended to carry on the style that Emperor utilized on In the Nightside Eclipse, the band set their sights a little closer to home, the second time around. Their new heroes seemed to be Dark Funeral. The abomination that resulted, in early 1998, was a pathetic tenth-rate copy of the material on The Secrets of the Black Arts, so bad that it made Vobiscum Satanas sound like a serious album.

The production is overdone, for a Black Metal release. Everything is clear and well-defined, with every generic riff coming through with remarkable clarity. It definitely sounds more polished than their last offering, though that one hardly boasted an underground production, in the first place. The riffs have absolutely no power and the drumming has an annoying 'clicky' quality. This album is oozing with the filth of modernity, from the horrible sound to the awful material.

Musically, this is terribly uninspiring. The members of Setherial are, obviously, capable musicians. On a practical level, there is no question regarding whether or not they can handle their instruments. The problem is that they are unable to think for themselves; i.e. all of their material is highly derivative of other bands, without a single shred of original thought added into the mix. When they were composing the songs that would become Nord, Emperor was rather popular. Following this, Dark Funeral had become a trendy band within the Black Metal scene, so they did their best to imitate them instead. Even worse, they were unable to do a convincing job. One has to wonder about the possibility of them obtaining an advance copy of Vobiscum Satanas, as this actually sounds more like a copy of that album than of Dark Funeral's debut L.P. This record is filled with double-bass drums that dominate the sound, weak and generic guitar riffs and comical vocals that try so hard to sound evil and diabolical, but come off as cheesy and cartoonish.

Lords of the Nightrealm is an absolute waste of time. Anyone that thinks this is the epitome of Black Metal must have just discovered the sub-genre within the past week or so. There is nothing on here that ranks above mediocre, at best, and the level of plagiarism is painful. Setherial is and always has been a joke. Avoid this at all costs.

Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com

What Real Satanism Should Sound Like - 100%

Kristenhat666, February 26th, 2011

I hate to say this, but Setherial are somewhat of a joke band today, a band that nobody takes seriously. To people who listen to Black Metal, Setherial is just one of the countless formations that play acceptable or good music, no more no less. I personally would not buy any of their last full-lengths, as they are rather uninspired and unconvincing. However, this was not always the case. Some of us remember the glory days ( the 1990s, obviously) when, following the incredibly atmospheric and cold "Nord" release from 1996, this once superior band unleashed what I personally consider, on a musical level, to be the most brutal Satanic album ever to be labeled as Black Metal: Setherial 's glorious, infamous and hate-soaked LORDS THE NIGHTREALM opus.

The general consensus among those who listen to the various styles of Metal is that it is Death Metal, and not Black Metal, that is characterized by its sheer brutality. The fact is that, in order to play BM in as true a form as possible, it is almost inconceivable to make it really "pounding" without slipping into another genre. I for one also thought this to be unachievable within the strict limits of BM. Until LORDS OF THE NIGHTREALM proved me wrong, that is.The production plays an undeniable role in bringing out this pure brutality. I would not say that this is due to the guitar sound, but rather to the sound of the bass and drums and the way in which they were mixed. The bass drum and incredible drum rolls, played at an insane speed by Moloch, and the agile fingers of bassist Kraath take full advantage of this production and amplify the intensity of the music. Undoubtedly, the riffs were composed with the conspicuous intention of being brutal, but no other production nor mixing would have been more fitting than this!

Which brings me to why the music is indeed "Supreme Satanic Black Metal Art", as described in the CD booklet by the band themselves. What better way to bring out the essence of Satanism can anyone think of if not the fact of creating music that is obscure, occult-inspired, hateful and brutal at once? Despite the differences between the songs, the overall effect, thanks to the atmosphere generated by the riffing, mixing and production, is precisely that of a pure Satanic experience. This album is THE Satanic release of the 2nd BM wave, and must be heard to be believed!

So I urge you: do not judge Setherial by their current standards. If you are not lucky enough to have heard LORDS OF THE NIGHTREALM back when it first came out, try to look past what the band is today and get your hands on this gem as soon as possible, ideally on the vinyl release, which would make the "audial devil-worship" contained in this album even more effective. For once you've entered Satan's realm, you will want to enjoy it for all eternity. Just like I do.

Lords' Last Album - 90%

So_It_Is_Done, February 16th, 2009

Lords of the Nightrealm is a second full lenght by Setherial and perhaps the best one in their career. This album is peculiar because of its particular nature - very tense sound, very twisted almost death metal riffs, and really hateful vocals.

Unlike their following releases Lords of the Nightrealm has no trace of happy melodies and catchy phrases. It is a progression from Nord toward a more typical Swedish blastbeating style. It is crafted with such an overdose of aggression that you should excuse the style, which they have been overusing and exploiting to this day together with countless bands like Dark Funeral.

Nevertheless, starting with Satan’s Realm this album does not slow down till the end. It clearly is not a let down comparing to Nord, but something quite new in terms of execution; very death metal like craft. Good musicanship, namely various surprising riffs, powerful drumming and even a couple of interesting solos are present here and there. Finally vocals, which are probably the best Kraath has ever made. Why did he stop singing will remain a question, because he was a much better vocalist than weak sounding Wrath.

Above all, the structure of songs - they are twisted with many unexpected solutions, piercing solos and I believe I hear even some traces of Casio. The production is great, it is harsh, but everything is perfectly hearable. Lyrical themes are typical, they fit the music well, but they are pretty naive, some could say straightforward.

To conclude, this release is a must for every black metal fan. It is one of the best albums from Sweden, before this scene became generic, lazy and 'inventive'. It is also the last Setherial album before they started to play uninspired and naive music. The recent photo session shows that they again pretend to be bad boys but who would believe that they will record good music again?
(Firstly published on Metal Archives around 2005, now rewritten).

Good sophomore effort - 89%

The_Ghoul, February 4th, 2009

The year is 1998. Setherial are releasing a sophomore effort to the momentous Nord, this time featuring In Battle madman drummer Otto Wiklund instead of the faustian Zathanel. I look forward to that, and the result is 47 minutes of nonstop black metal aggression. From the opening scream "SATAN'S REAAAAALLLM" to the symphonic outro to the song Lords of the Nightrealm, this kicks ass the whole way, in an accessible package that Nord was obviously not in.

This accessibility can prove to be a fault at time, because the beautiful complexity of Nord is obviously lost here. But, looking at where Setherial went in the future, becoming Dark Funeral clones with Hell Eternal, it's very pleasant listening to the hybrid of old vs. new, Nord Vs. Hell Eternal. That being said, this is a much more organic listening experience than the rather plastic and covalent Hell Eternal. The drums are done tastefully, if not endlessly blasting away, but the guitars aren't in the "WE MUST ALWAYS PLAY MINOR CHORDS" fad that Setherial did with Hell Eternal and Dark Funeral seems to enjoy doing. In a way it's a remnant of past complexity, as Setherial started out as a really melodic band, reminiscent to Emperor and Dimmu's oldest (pre-1997) stuff, not the Dark Funeral and Marduk worship we have today.

Still though, this is a much simpler album than efforts past. It's obviously meant for less discerning audiences, appealing less to the intellectual part of us but more to our bestial thrash hearts. The rhythm guitar sound is more akin to Bathory's Return..., raw and metally and filthy to the max. The lead guitar is still Mysteriis' signature trebly crunch. He really should stick to guitar, instead of drums. Otto Wiklund, aka Moloch, really dominates here and makes ridiculously fast rhythms, though the snare is kinda buried, akin to the mix of In Battle's s/t. Still though, it's really enjoyable, and it's the last of the olskool melodic Setherial sound. Now it's mostly norsecore satan worship, and their latest are barely worth your time.

Summon The Lord With Horns - 99%

evangeliclies, November 5th, 2008

Setherial's "Lords of the Nightrealm" is the quintessential black metal album; a pure masterpiece of blasphemy and musical carnage. There are no keyboards, no clean vocals, and no bullshit. The production is excellent, but not overproduced or "polished" like Dimmu Borgir, and it compliments their style perfectly. From the insane one-footed blasting of Otto Wiklund, the abundance of memorable riffs, and the hellish vocals of Kraath; this is black metal perfection.

The entire album is comprised of 8 tracks, all of which can stand on their own. Beginning with "Satan's Realm", a ferocious blastfest from the onset, the beast that is Setherial never lets up until the album is over. Most albums of similar style get monotonous with the constant barrage of blasts and speedy riffs, but with "Lords", Setherial wrote killer riffs and leads, which maintain your attention throughout. The drumming is fast, varied, and creative with lots of fills and breaks. The vocals are throaty and delivered with conviction. When they double them with low vocals, it sounds completely evil. All of these elements combine to create an album which is one truly hellish listening experience. Had this lineup stayed together, who knows what could've been.

Although Setherial have strayed far from the mastery which is displayed on this album, don't let their newer material dissuade you from picking up this gem. I wouldn't categorize many black metal albums as brutal, but this is definitely one and it undoubtably needs to be in your collection. Recommended tracks are "Satan's Realm", "Shades Over Universe", "Summon The Lord With Horns", and "Lords of the Nightrealm".