Nifelheim

Envoy of Lucifer

Regain Records 2008

Hearkening back to a blacker era and feeling within the Swedish scene the likes of which we have not seen since Dissection's Storm of the Light's Bane, the new Nifelheim album combines old school thrashing riffs with the bleak and melodic sensibilities of the once-crowned kings of the Swedish death and black metal scene.  On their first full length album in seven years, we find Nifelheim faster and less old school in its mindset than I anticipated after earlier strikes from these blackened thrashers.  Gates of Damnation bursts through the gates with a Slayer-esque beginning though quickly speeds away into the frigid wastes of black metal though the chorus treats us to a sort of modern take on underground NWOBHM melody.  The main riff in Claws of Death sounds hollow and the drumming, as with most tracks here, speeds away with reckless abandon.  On the next track things get really interesting as Storm of the Reaper's excellent pacing and superb melodies calls in to my mind a horde of charging Vikings.  And Nifelheim blows my mind with the slow and grinding beast of steel that is Evil is Eternal.  This song proves that speed is not necessary to truly slay as the drumming gallops but never rises to the furious tempo of most of the rest of the album's material.  Also a killer guitar solo rocks out the middle of the song giving a rare insight to the underlying roots in Nifelheim's large catalogue of musical influences.  No More Life closes out the album on a more sinister note with its constantly building and collapsing mini-explosions of boiling hatred.  Nifelheim's return to the realm of full length albums is welcome and comforting.  To be honest though I thought this CD would have much more thrashin' on its mind but it prefers to tread waters of infernal evil tainted with cold melodies and Swedish blackness.  Basically Envoy of Lucifer is two phenomenal songs (Storm of the Reaper and Evil is Eternal) and a surrounding host of solid though less remarkable tracks.  A worthy return but I could do with more thrashin' net time.