Cerecloth by NaglfarRelease date: May 8, 2020
Label: Century Media Records
2020 so far hasn’t given the world much to smile about. One glimmer of joy in this desperate and frightening time is the peace and escape we find in music, no matter the genre or tempo a good spin of an album can bring some respite amongst a drowning cacophony of sorrow. The long-awaited return of black metal legends Naglfar has been one such audial glimmer to excite one’s isolation days.
Hailing from Umeå in north eastern Sweden and active since 1992 Naglfar have long since been a band of consistency and respect. It’s been a long and lonely eight years since the tremendous Téras was released and now after several years of teasing the outcome of their hard work comes in the green-tinged funereal form of Cerecloth, a brand new album that shows Naglfar dipping into both old school and modern black metal.
The title track kicks off the album and it’s back to business for the veterans, leading with high, wailing tremolos and pitter-patter blastbeats that show a band charging in with all guns blazing. The old school ‘Vortex Of Negativity’ storms in with sharp Marduk-esque riffs and continuing the aggression comes the albums high point of ‘The Dagger In Creation’, with its skin-peeling speed, melodic hooks and catchy chorus. The albums final blazer ‘A Sanguine Tide Unleashed’ lets Naglfar go full panzer division and empty their barrels before the more restrained climax of the albums final two tracks.
There’s plenty of interesting touches to laud, such as the bass plucks that introduce ‘Like Poison For The Soul’ and its portentous riffs or the ferocious second half outburst that ignites ‘Cry Of The Seraphim’, for example. ‘Necronaut’ is another stand-out for me, leading with a very 80s metal intro riff but stops just short of being an instant classic due to its premature ending. It has the framework to be more memorable but could do with being a few minutes longer and with more focus on the uniqueness of why the track was included in the first place.
Cerecloth is an album to celebrate the good old times and showcases exactly what Naglfar do best. As far as perfection goes, well it’s about as close to it as you could wish from a return after eight years away, and you would expect nothing less, with the trio packing in a bountiful supply of raging old school black metal and gorgeous melodies with enough nuances and hooks to keep you invested. Naglfar’s comeback is triumphant and one thing from this terrible year to smile about.