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Naglfar - Vittra Review

by Alon Chapovetksy

They say you can never judge a book by its cover, yet if they were talking about Naglfar's Vittra, they couldn't have been more wrong. Forming in 1992, Naglfar has released their debut Vittra in 1995. It was an album that truly deserved the title "a musical work of art". In 2001, Regain Records reissued Vittra with 3 new extra tracks (2 of which are covers). The cover depicts a woman in a dark forest, with a light of saintliness around her, just like what this CD is---a holy shot in the infernal arm of the Swedish BM scene. As one of the strongest releases in the field of Swedish Black metal, this new-and-improved Vittra delivers everything that was expected from it, and than some.

The album begins with a 1-minute epic keyboard piece, which puts us in a cold grim and frostbitten forest and continues with a blast, after which anything can happen. From fast drumming with tremolo picked riffs to slow acoustic parts, this release has it all. The guitar riffs are simply f***ing epic! The guitarists manage to create a truly larger-than-life atmosphere. For some reason the guitar playing on this release reminds me of Dark Tranquillity. The drumming on this record is pretty mediocre. The drummer plays some basic beats, which might be boring by themselves yet blend with the guitar along so perfectly well (The whole being more than the sum of its parts?). The bass player does his job by bridging the gap between the bass and the guitar. The keyboard adds to the atmosphere by creating organ-like sounds, which add a whole f***ing lot. The vocals are the Achilles heel of this album. The vocalist is a very talented and can do a variety of vocal styles---a fact that seems to be the problem. Most of the vocal work on this record might remind someone of Thomas Lindberg (At the Gates) combined with Stefan Fiori (Graveworm), and it is done well, fitting the style of the music perfectly. The problem however, is located in the other vocal styles that seem to curse this album. The vocalist might sound good while using his "BM Voice" yet when the slow, low, and heavy (relatively) vocals start, you can imagine some tall hairy dude standing with a lame face trying to look "necro" (Some people enjoy this type of vocals). The biggest issue I have with the vocals is the random Cradle of Filth screams that seem to ruin this recording. Overall, this hinders the album only a bit and the majority of Vittra is very enjoyable.

In conclusion, Naglfar had created this amazing record with it's faults being only some of the vocals (about 15% of the total vocals on the CD) yet with such incredible atmosphere and some damn awesome covers (Kreator, Maiden) which make up for the vocals (yet not completely…). To wit, it is still well-worth getting, so check it out!

1. As the Twilight Gave Birth to the Night
2. Enslave the Astral Fortress
3. Through the Midnight Spheres
4. The Eclipse of Infernal Storms
5. Emerging From Her Weepings
6. Failing Wings
7. Vittra
8. Sunless Dawn
9. Exalted Above Thrones

Awesome Tracks: "Through the Midnight Spheres", "Vittra", and "Failing Wings".

CD Info and Links

Naglfar - Vittra

Rating:9.9/10 (perfect if not for the vocals)

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