Wormwood - Nattarvet
Black Lodge
Melodic Black Metal
7 songs (53'49")
Release year: 2019
Black Lodge
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

I have not had a chance to listen to Swedish Wormwood earlier release Ghostlands, but if it is as good as Nattarvet, I have to correct this omission, and pronto (or whatever is fast in Swedish). It has been a while since I have heard such a blended style extreme metal album where all pieces to the puzzle fit. Imagine a mixture of Vreid, Wyrd, Khold and Vintersorg and that can probably describe Nattarvet. Most importantly, whatever the style (or styles) Wormwood plays, Nattarvet is an album which leads to immediate immersion but beckons for repeated listens, a rare and powerful combination which speaks to quality both short- and long-term.

Wormwood dedicated the album to the arduous and tragic history of their forefathers, to the generations of Scandinavians who came before them. If you watch History Channel series Vikings on binge (like I did earlier in the year), especially their early, more meaningful and philosophical, seasons, you can understand that spirit. Steady rolling harsh blast, rocking riffs, harmonized leads and rousing tremolo, as in Av lie o borda, this is the music that personifies people who could endure harsh weather conditions, poor barren soil, endless self-destroying violence, and who, at the same time, lived in harmony with nature around them, with deep philosophical outlook on things, rowdiness and fighting prowess. Leading with a synth/accordion and synth melody on I bottenlos avja creates profound heart rending melody. The harsh black’n’roll to follow is expected, but the acoustic folky quiet with a dreamy soft clean voice is not. And that is what is so good about Nattarvet. It comes at you from many angles and throws a lot in a blender, but the end result is always captivating. It also the contrasts the album relies upon that startle and maintain constant grip. Tvehunger starts with acoustics, but turns out to be grinding and nasty. The heroic close of Tvehunger flows into The Isolationist, which has a long dissolution under the stars, shimmering instrumental middle, very Solstafir like. There is mad dancing under the vastness of the northern sky in Arctic Light, the slower tortuous The Achromatic Road with bass exploding all around. There is triumph in blastbeat of Sunnas Hadanfard, another bout of rocking riffing, and the wistful melodies to close.

Wormwood may call themselves black metal, or atmospheric melodic black metal, but there are many genres represented here on the album. There is Khold’s and Vreid’s black’n’roll, synth folk melodies of Wyrd and depth of Vintersorg. There is even melodic death metal, almost Dark Tranquillity outtake on Arctic Light and The Acromatic Road. Vocals also cover the gamut. The more traditional black metal vocals are not extremely raspy, and the band very fittingly utilizes gang shouts. There are deeper growls, but vocalist Nine is signing them out, Stanne style. As mentioned, clean vocals also make appearance in a few spots, providing another angle to the story.

I loved the album on the first listen, and it took me a week to finally pry it out from my car player as I had to move on, there is a big pile I want to get to still. Highest recommendation, if you like any of the mentioned bands in whole or in part. Nattarvet will not disappoint.

Killing Songs :
Av lie o borda, I bottenlos avja, Arctic Light, Tvehunger, The Isolationist
Alex quoted 94 / 100
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