Nidingr – The High Heat Licks Against Heaven (Released February 10th, 2017 – Season of Mist)
Much as I wrote for Wode earlier this year, riff-driven black metal is far and few between, the bleak landscape littered more with sorry Deafheaven ripoffs attempting to peddle emotionless emotional post-black metal than with Bathory worshipers devoted to developing frost bitten riffs and burning chvches. Luckily, current Mayhem guitarist Teloch, Morten Iversen, is one of the masterminds behind the back reaching yet pioneering project that is Nidingr and our ears are graced with interesting trv black metal.
With their last full length, Greatest of Deceivers, landing five years ago, Nidingr predate my devoted listening years making High Heat was my first exposure to their doomy blackened-Viking metal. Noted as having a guest appearance by Amalie Bruun, High Heat successfully rode the hype wave that is Myrkur into my listening queue. Amalie’s performance was as expected; serene and beautiful, her vocals gracing the closing track, Naglfar is Loosed… and now I might as well get some angst out. Amalie Bruun is without equal, my heavy metal crush (that is a thing, do not question me) but, that does not alleviate my disappoint of her two LP’s. I wanted to believe M. was just a sophomore slump after her mind-blowing self-titled EP but, with the release of Mareridt, I must give respect to the idea that Myrkur is still riding the hype caused by a truly masterful EP and has nothing left to give… I will give her one more album musically but, much like Nergal in Behemoth, the aesthetic of the band and image they maintain is more important than the music… yet Behemoth have yet to fall off… maybe a better example of this is Ghost… they would literally be nothing without that fucking schtick… anyways wow, apparently this is Nidingr review or something?
Reminiscent of Nightfell in their doominess and Bathory in their blackened-Vikingness, Nidingr weaves a simple yet strong blend of genres. The Viking power charges out of the gate earlier with the Quorthon praise loud and clear on The Ballad of Hamther and On Dead Body Shore. Mostly cast to the background, as this is a trv black metal album, the drums offer great restraint and draw the ear on Gleipnir with their simple yet entrancing cymbal cracking loop. The spoken word / whispered singing on Ash Yggdrasil is haunting and exciting, solidifying the track as an individual. The heaviness that opened the album re-emerged late with the crashing drums and rumbling bass of Valkyries Assemble which gave way to Amalie Bruun’s, Naglfar is Loosed. Something had been itching at the back of mind throughout the album and I was finally able to place my finger on it with the closing track. When trying to genre-fy High Heat I kept leaning towards calling it just Viking metal and, not til the presence of Amalie’s voice opening rifts between the riffs, did I finally notice the rolling doom on the album. There had been this oppressive feel throughout that I chalked up to simple folk-ish atmospheres wafting from the Viking battle charge but, there was actually the weaving of two genres into a relatively cohesive unit.
A solid and varied album if unspectacular, though clearly spiteful Viking metal each track is distinct, incorporating doomy elements, and is more than an outhouse recorded piece of shite.
Well, what can I say that TheFaceofEddie didn’t cover? I’ll basically offer a TL:DR about this album since him and I do agree on a lot of things.
Do you like black metal as a background noise? This album is for you.
Do you want more black metal in your library? This album is for you.
There isn’t much to say about this album since it was easy to forget I was even listening to it and I gave it 3 playthroughs, but here are my 3 highlights.
- Can’t remember the song but they slowed everything down and had a just the guitar going with a very nice melodic riff.
- There is a female vocalist that caught my intention and was the definitely the highlight of the album.
- Album art is pretty fucking stellar. Probably the real reason I listened to this album
Overall I give it more of the same barren wasteland/rotten corpse of a Viking longboat.