Holy shit! If NAGLFAR hasn’t taken the seat at the Swedish Black/Death Metal throne after this album no one will. Five years after their last full-length album the band returns with a real cracker. Be prepared for a journey through Hell itself because NAGLFAR have created one of the most evil sounding albums I’ve ever come across, I kid you not.
“Sheol” is packed with quality songs full of intensity and diversity but never strays away from the bands scorching Black/Death Metal sound. The songs are shockingly brutal, melodic and fast; the nine tracks could be described as forty minutes of pure Ragnarök concluded with an aftermath outro called “The Infernal Ceremony”.
“I Am Vengeance” is an excellent opening track that sets the tone for the albums pace, standards and atmosphere. Other great tracks like “Wrath Of The Fallen”, “Force Of Pandemonium”, “Unleash Hell” (gotta love that twisted solo) and “Black God Aftermath” never stop feeding you with first class Black Metal, the incredible instrumentation is only matched by the evil profanity coming out of Jens Ryden’s vocals.
“Abysmal Descent”, the slowest track on the album, could have worked better if it had some fast tempo changes, but it’s still a good song. “Devoured By Naglfar” (just ignore the title) could have been co-written with Øystein G. Brun (BORKNAGAR), it really does sound like a BORKNAGAR track minus the progressive touches. Some parts remind me of OLD MANS CHILD’s “In Defiance Of Existence”, otherwise there’s not much to complain about, NAGLFAR delivers the goods and have some small surprises hidden in the entangled sound.
To match the album’s title “Sheol” (translated into “Hell” in the Hebrew language) and the diabolic artwork, you need a hellish wall of sound; the band have done a great job in capturing this sound, the guitars are destructive and merciless and together with the chaotic drumming and demonic vocals of Jens Ryden (man this guy knows how to scream effectively) the atmosphere is more than brutal, genocidal is the word.
“Sheol” is an excellent Black/Death Metal album that will undoubtedly satisfy fans and make them scream for more. (Online August 17, 2004)