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Norway Country of Origin: Norway

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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 1995
Label: Head Not Found
Genre: Black
1. Intro
2. Pagan Land
3. Age Of Pride
4. From The Darkest Deep
5. Daudens Natt
6. The Norse Winter Demon
7. Hammerens Slag
8. Minner Om Svunne Tider
9. Et Vinterland I Nord
10. Ragnarok
11. Nattferd/Outro

Review by Felix on September 14, 2023.

A (maybe not only) German proverb says that there is a kind of magic in every beginning. This does not mean that every debut album has an unexplainable core which makes it larger it is in fact. But this rule is often valid when a debut is part of a new current that places the material contained on it in a larger context that potentiates the tension. Ragnarok’s first full-length was released in 1995. They were not first mover, but still among the first wave of the second wave, if anybody understands what I want to say. If not, just concentrate on the music of “Nattferd”.

Well, we don’t speak about a milestone of Norwegian black metal everybody has to know. “Nattferd” lacks the murderous recklessness of “Pure Holocaust”, the intelligence of “In the Nightside Eclipse” and, needless to say, the diabolic ceremony called “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” is far out of reach. But it holds genre-typical, throaty vocals, attacking guitars and some atmospheric keyboards that reveal a certain closeness to the early sounds of Ancient or create an almost folkloric aura (“Daudens Natt”). However, regardless of the different facets of the material, there is one stable component. All songs sound credible and authentic, inter alia due to the dense, comparatively raw and appropriate production which reflects (just like the artwork) the underground status of the band at that time. It is therefore a bit sad that only a few compositions reach an outstanding quality level. “The Norse Winter Demon” with its captivating, finally dominating keyboard line and its explosive, merciless guitars shows that the dudes know how to pen an excellent piece, but often the finishing touch is missing and so the pretty dynamic songs remain on a solid-to-good level.

Doubtlessly, Ragnarok have a good instinct for the arrangement of the single tracks and the flow of the album. The few number of comparatively soft parts is a welcome change rather than a violation of the coherence of “Nattferd”. Every now and then the band is also able to deliver a more or less catchy sequence, but I can't shake the feeling that they never quite play their trump cards. For example, they used the actually stage-setting title track as outro, but it would have been a much better intro than the one they chose. Anyway, fans of formations such as Mactätus or Svartahrid can have a good time with this album, especially when it comes to well arranged cuts like “From the Darkest Deep” or “Daudens Natt” which offer, both very sharp guitars and an atmosphere of dignity and grandeur. These fans will possibly not find true magic here, but enough songs to enjoy.

Rating: 7.3 out of 10