Naðra – “Allir Vegir Til Glötunar” (2016)

This is the last of the tapes I ordered from the Icelandic metal label Vánagandr a few weeks back. I reviewed and enjoyed another Naðra tape a while ago, 2014s Eitur, so I was looking forward to hearing some new material from these black metal soul crushers.

Lately it seems like a lot of the black metal I’ve been hearing is slow and heavy, musically reminding me more of doom than anything else, but that’s not the case with Allir Vegir Til Glötunar which comes at you full force right out of the gate with merciless despair and anger. I wondered if the marathon side A closer “Falið” was going to venture into the slower, more plodding style given it’s 14+ minute length, but no, no sir, not at all. There are some gothic elements to it with some soaring, moaning backing vocals, but it’s still a full frontal assault on your ears and soul, all crashing drums and screaming. (♠) What I enjoy most about Naðra, beyond their musical talent, is their pacing. Not with a molasses-like slowness than lulls you to sleep, nor with so much speed that you aren’t getting so much a song as a wall of pure noise, but somewhere in between, a place that maintains heaviness and machine gun drumming while keeping it all on the rails and musical.

You can check out Allir Vegir Til Glötunar for free HERE, and there is a vinyl version as well put out by Fallen Empire if you want to go that route.

(♠) OK, it does slow down a bit in the middle, but never gets down to that sludgy doom crawl.