By Dr. Abner Mality

NORDJEVEL means “devil of the North” in Norwegian. I can’t think of a more fitting name for this band of black metal terrorists, who strike with a freezing fury that has almost disappeared from the genre. They’ve sheared away all the fluffy trappings, extra melodies, frilly instrumentation and avant-garde philosophizing and gone back to heart of what made a lot of 90’s black metal so barbaric and bloodthirsty. It’s good to hear such a pure example of the art.

They have the speed and ferocity of bands like MARDUK, 1349 and early GORGOROTH but they haven’t forgotten melody’s just very dark and surrounded by rage. “I Djevelens Skygge”, “Satan’s Manifest” and “Gnawing The Bones” are blizzard-like attacks of mid-90’s black metal that you just don’t hear that much of these days. You don’t need to worry about crappy “kult” production, either… “Gnavhol” has a great clear sound to it that allows some hidden depths to arise.

You can hear those depths on “Spores of Gnosis”, which screams along the back of a twisting, trebly riff and tosses in some complex tuneage as well. The title track sees the pace drop to a slower, more glacial feel, which breaks the album up nicely, but it gradually builds to a more aggressive sound. “Endritual” is even longer and more epic, approaching the ten minute mark. Lots of tempos on this monster and it comes dangerously close to being too long, but a second listen reveals cold melodies seeping in and it works its way to a powerful climax. It reminds me a lot of 1349’s longer tracks.

This is just so clear and direct, it’s a pleasure to hear a Scandinavian band that brings back a lot of what the scene has been missing. One of the best black metal records of the year!