Monday 7 August 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Nidingr - "The High Heat Licks Against Heaven"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date released: 16/06/2017
Label: Seasons of Mist

Given the amount of average extreme music that is available, Nidingr’s release is outstanding for such depth alone.

"The High Heat Licks Against Heaven" CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Hangaguð
2. Surtr
3. The Ballad of Hamther
4. On Dead Body Shore
5. Gleipnir
6. Sol Taker
7. Ash Yggdrasil
8. Heimdalargaldr
9. Valkyries Assemble
10. Naglfar Is Loosed

The Review:

The long shadow of Norwegian black metal’s most brutal off-stage moments are the stuff of countless thinkpieces, documentaries and books. Such history is deceptive, because the mainstream merely gets grist for tabloid headlines while a scene that is vibrant as it is seminal to the global metal ecosystem goes underappreciated.

Borre-based outfit Nidingr bear a claim to Norwegian black metal’s story. Formed as Audr in 1992, the project of Morten Iversen has been bruising heads with its caustic edge to the music. Maybe such a sound for Nidingr is not completely unexpected. Iversen counts Gorgoroth, Orcustus, Mayhem and other acts on his resume. As you think about that experience, you might wonder why Nidingr is considered or classifies itself in the black metal camp. Herein lies a curious departure in this tale.

What makes Nidingr such a unique part of metal in Europe is the influences you hear in its sound over time. Go back and listen to the crew’s past releases and you will most assuredly hear doom metal, crust punk and even some non-extreme orchestration in its songs. Lyrically, the band fits well into the subgenre, creating often horrific imagery. Iversen and company are not above pushing the musical boundaries, however.

Your first trip through "The High Heat Licks Against Heaven" is a relentless experience. The hefty drum and bass throughout the recording makes every track particularly foreboding and intense. The bark of vocalist Cpt. Estrella Grasa snatches you almost immediately. Grasa, the pseudonym of Alf Almén, snarls outward with the essence of Norwegian black metal stylings, but is wholly original. You might catch some inspiration from punk in parts of the vocal in "The Ballad of Hamther" and other moments. Mathcore elements dot "On Dead Body Shore" as well. Credit Almén for his creativity behind the microphone. He’s giving a performance that will please the casual listener, while giving the metal music snob something to marvel at. Given the amount of average extreme music that is available, Nidingr’s release is outstanding for such depth alone.

One of the standout selections fans will put on repeat is "Gleipnir" – even though the opening will possibly make you turn your head and ask, ‘what the fuck is this?’ It is sandwiched between the previously mentioned "Shore" and the similarly hard charging "Sol Taker" yet sound like neither in the slightest. Instead, there’s a strong hint of doom. Either way, it is exceptional, as is one of the other doom/sludge tracks, "Ash Yggdrasil." You, in fact, may find black metal on the full-length, but there’s more here than meets the eye.

"The High Heat Licks Against Heaven" is available here:

Band info: bandcamp || facebook