It is always nice to find a band during the early days of their career and support them with an air of smugness as the rest of the world (and by that I mean the metal underground!) eventually catches on. This was the case for me with Norway’s black metal deviants Nordjevel who I’ve been with since day one, having had their eponymous 2016 debut album and 2017’s ‘Krigsmakt’ EP on loud and constant rotation. I’ve managed to catch them live a few times and have watched them grow from opening the small John Dee stage at Inferno to almost having my head ripped off by one of their percussive pyros when they returned to the same festival on the main stage a couple of years later!
Having undergone line up changes the band now seem settled as a four piece and will be releasing their second full length at the end of March. This album sees a definite evolution from their previous two releases being more urgent, more frantic and more aggressive, as typified by opening track ‘Sunset Glow’. This wastes absolutely no time and launches straight into a full on rampaging black metal assault before evolving with more rhythmic dynamics and rasping vocals. As the track progresses these two styles wrestle for dominance until the second track ‘Devilry’ stamps its authority with relentless percussive artillery, although there is perhaps a little more refinement to this track as a menacing melody takes hold.
There is no let up as ‘The Idea Of One-Ness’ continues the sonic assault with the clever use of short acoustic interludes and haunting melody running beneath the ferocious blasting percussion giving a little variety.
The pace slows down a little as demonic vocals are nestled amongst plodding but effective moody melodies during ‘Black Lights From The Void’ before ‘Amen Whores’ shatters any illusion of calm with its punishing rhythms, which contrast nicely with its almost chanted chorus. I believe the video for this was removed by Facebook but can now be found on youtube for the curious……
‘The Fevered Lands’ gives more unrelenting battery before the delightfully titled (!) ‘Nazarene Necrophilia’ which is built around hypnotic rhythms and pulsating melodies running through the rotten core, giving the track an epic feel more akin to their earlier releases.
The fittingly titled ‘Apokalupsis Eschation’ (apocalyptic eschatology I believe) provides the soundtrack for armageddon, unrelenting from start to finish until it fades out to the sound of explosions which lead straight into, the final track ‘Panzerengel’.
At nearly nine minutes this is by far the longest track on the album and continues with rasping vocals and crushing melodies which lead into prominent sharp guitar work in slight contrast to the rest of the album but which works well. There is a brief midsection interlude with what sounds like strings and choral vocals chanting “Amen” before the rasping vocals shatter the peace closing the album. The track listing for the album includes a final bonus track ‘Venom Of Serpents’ but unfortunately that wasn’t out for review.
This album is a fierce, powerful piece of work. It is challenging and confrontational, virulent and malignant and conjures up searing images of raging hellfire. This is modern day Norwegian black metal at its best and is highly recommended.
(9/10 Andy Pountney)