I Helvetes Forakt
Review by Felix on May 18, 2023.
When I am asked about the popularity of Nattverd, I always answer that it should be higher. But normally nobody asks me about it. That's why I'll say frankly and without being asked: the popularity of Norway’s Nattverd should be higher. With three solid to good full-lengths under their belly, they have already shown their general competence. Now comes their fourth work called I Helvetes Forakt and it definitely does not stand in the shadow of its predecessors. Okay, maybe Nattverd’s approach is pretty generic and very typical for a Norwegian band. Former formations like Mactätus, Old Man’s Child or Svartahrid did / do not sound completely different, to say it this way. But who cares? I am not interested in uniqueness, but in good music and I Helvetes Forakt houses great compositions.
The album shows its full glory whenever the band lets its energy flow freely. 'Vandring I Elver Av Blod' presents a dark mood right from the beginning. It soon gains tempo and larger-than-fjords guitar lines spread pure and sinister enthusiasm. The excellent production supports the dense atmosphere of this dynamic and partly creepy piece. No doubt, this song is a jewel of Northern black metal art – and it is not the only one. 'Forbannet Vaere' leaves a trail of destruction right from the beginning, but even here Nattverd intersperses a few melodic guitar lines. This is intensive high class metal, not without drama and great emotions, but always with full force. Infantile gimmicks are not needed, the highlights of the album show the entire beauty of adult yet merciless blackness.
Apart from the highlights, Nattverd do not follow this comparatively brutal approach permanently. Don’t worry, the somewhat kitschy artwork does not indicate the musical content. Sticky sounds do not appear, this is no Italian “power” metal, haha. The band always keeps an eye on basic harshness, even though sometimes the melodies gain the upper hand. The actually attacking opener suffers from acoustic breaks. Howling of wolves included! You see, the band is not totally immune against some stereotypes. Moreover, I do not fully understand 'Elvedjuved' with its rocking rhythms at the beginning and a playtime of only two minutes. Satan should criminalize black metal songs with a length of less than four minutes, they mostly lack depth and atmosphere. 'Elvedjuved', maybe a kind of experiment, cannot absolve itself from this as well, although it is not a bad song. Anyway, the mid-paced, Burzum-influenced tremolo picking of the following eight minute monument called 'I Moerke Skip Innover' comes much closer to my ideal vision of black metal. So we have reached the final song and it is time for a summary, right? I Helvetes Forakt is an album which grows on the listener, at least in my case. It delivers properly arranged black metal with a subliminally morbid touch. Yes, it is not absolutely free from run-of-the-mill sections, but they are the exception to the rule and maybe some standards are simply necessary. Therefore, I think this work should increase the popularity of its creators, but my life experience (54 years, f**k) tells me something different.
Rating: 8.2 out of 10373