Not really my cup-o-tea, but I still must admit that Sweden’s NAGLFAR are one of the best at what they do. So what do they do? Well as a faithful TMO reader, you should already know that. But if not, let’s just say that NAGLFAR are right up there with DISSECTIONS’ first two full-lengths as the best of the best of Black/Death Metal hybrids. “Vittra” is NAGLFAR’s debut full-length and falls more in line with melody laced Black Metal, with only a few Death Metal hints here and there (the Death part of their sound grew more with ensuing releases). By calling “Vittra” melodic, I don’t mean to put in the same camp as DIMMU or CRADLE, as NAGLFAR display a much more vicious bite that anything mustered up by those two bands (although I do like both of ‘em).
Anyway…the original release of “Vittra” has already been given a glowing review here at TMO, so check that review out for a more in depth look at the original album. You see, what we have here is a reissue with bonus tracks, so I’d like to focus on what’s new instead of looking at what has already been touched upon. But before going any further, let’s just say that if you enjoy Black or Death Metal, you’ll likely enjoy “Vittra”, it’s top-notch material.
On to the new stuff…
I’m sure of whether or not “Vittra” received a remastering or not, but it sounds excellent nonetheless. Good ol’ Peter Tägtgren handled the production, so I’m sure it was badass to begin with. So my focus here will be on the three bonus tracks, and let me tell you, they’re for sure a good time. “12th Rising” seems to be a demo of the track later found on the "Diabolical" release, as the production is tintier and dirtier than the version found on that album. Jens Rydén’s vocals are also quite a bit rawer. The song itself holds up with anything else found on the original “Vittra”, with a great combination of melody and aggression. The lead playing leaves no doubt that NAGLFAR are Swedish, as the sense of melody could have come from no where else.
With the other two bonus tracks, the fun begins. First we get a balls-out cover of the IRON MAIDEN classic, “The Evil That Men Do”. Sporting a reverb-y production, the track is simply mean, without ever losing the spirit of the original. And last comes a cover of KREATOR’s already murderously delightful “Pleasure To Kill”, which NAGLFAR somehow make sound even more lethal. The cover tracks don’t share the same spirit as the rest of “Vittra”, but are simply good Metal fun.
I can’t say for sure whether or not the reissue of “Vittra” is absolutely essential, especially if you own the original, but genre fans whose collection is missing this gem should definitely lend it your ear.
(Online September 17, 2007)