“The High Heat Licks Against Heaven”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Here we have an example of a very professional effort that is well produced and exceedingly well played, yet it leaves little impact. To say this is a bland or forgettable record is too harsh, but the fact is that Nidingr don’t really create anything here that could be considered exceptional.

The band is the brainchild of Mayhem and 1349 guitarist Teloch, whose credentials within the black metal community are unquestionable. Nidingr’s approach can best be described as a more aggressive and less experimental version of Enslaved’s progressive black metal. Some unusual elements are present here, but not enough to create anything really novel. The material is quite heavy and superbly mixed, with bass sound in particular being very good. The songs surge ahead with a steady battering ram time tempo that occasionally drops to doomy and lethargic. The melodies are typical of Norwegian BM. On the last track “Naglfar Is Loosed”, there’s a progressive sound with female vocals and a somber feel that works pretty well. But on “Ash Yggdrasil”, the tempo just drags and the song is a bore.

You can find some war-like splendor in tunes like “Surtr” and “Valkyries Assemble” but it’s nothing the seasoned BM fan hasn’t heard before. I have no complaints about the playing or sound of “The High Heat Licks Against Heaven” but the sad fact is that Nidingr have created a purely routine album here.