It's almost hard to classify this one. At first listen, you may file "Diabolical" under Black Metal, yet it soon becomes apparent that elements from several of Metal's many other sub-genres can be found within this recording. (Is that not the true definition of Black Metal?)
Well, one thing you won't find yourself debating about, is the menacing nature of this disc. "Diabolical", without pushing the fabric too thin, is quite relentless. By that sure, I mean it's really brutal and fast (as you would expect from most any BM release nowadays), but relentless in the sense that this album refuses to be turned off, or tuned out. Perhaps a more suitable word would have been captivating?
NAGLFAR continue to deliver what those on the other side of the out-of-ten-scale leave for dead - variety. You may not notice it the first time though, or even the second, but by the third listen, you'll start picking up on a wide range of all sorts of interesting things. The fact that they're not as in-your-face as you might want or expect could perhaps be key in "Diabolical"'s success. I myself have always enjoyed albums that hide as much under the surface as they present openly.
But, if you just want to take a look at "Diabolical" from a casual perspective, you won't be left shaking your head. In fact, you'll find that it's chalk full of cold blazing tones, balanced nicely by dark melodies, and even a chilling spoken narrative to top it all off. I wouldn't have minded a sturdier sound resonating from the kit though, as there are many instances where the foundation is drowned out in the torrent that is NAGLFAR. But let's be reasonable; sometimes this kind of thing just can't be helped. One thing is for certain, Jens Rydén pulls off another outstanding performance behind the mic. This is yet more proof that he's on top of his craft, as well as the grand heap of extreme Black/Death-vocalists. Other things to look out for are the few well timed angelic choirs, ivory keyed passages, and the blitz of shredding riffs that refuse to go without thrashing.