Naglfar - Harvest
Century Media
Melodic Black Metal
9 songs (45:24)
Release year: 2007
Naglfar, Century Media
Reviewed by Dylan
Album of the month
A few weeks ago in my review of Marduk’s newest album, Rom 5:12, I ended my rant by proclaiming it was “my favorite black metal album of this year, so far.” Ironically enough, I was greeted with another strong, interesting effort put forth by Sweden’s Naglfar just a few short weeks later. As my first listen of Mayhem’s latest album is still pending, Naglfar’s Harvest now stands alongside Rom 5:12 as one of the black metal gems of 2007.

Let's get one thing straight; how closely you hold Dissection’s classic work to your freezing heart is a good indication of how much you will relish in all Harvest has to offer. All the constant comparisons to the now defunct black metal band are probably about as annoying to the band members as they are accurate. Everything from the downright sinister vocals of ex-bassist Kristoffer Olivius, to the blackened melody spewed forth from axemen Andreas Nilsson and Marcus E. Norman harkens back to the majesty and epic heaviness of Jon Nödtveidt and crew. So by now, as you have probably guessed, this album is not terribly original. However, what Harvest lacks in innovation, it more than makes up for in superb sound quality, mature songwriting, and a dark, yet searing atmosphere.

Into The Black sounds like an unreleased track for Storm of the Light’s Bane, complete with an eerily clean guitar opening the track, epic riffing transporting you to a mystical, dark place, with the superb vocal attack of Olivius being your demonic guide. After this song finishes one odd thing becomes clear: almost every song on this album produces a huge anthemic feeling without the use of a synthesized choir or orchestra, like numerous black metal bands have grown to rely on. After the blasting fury of Breathe Through Me, The Mirror of My Soul begins to reveal the very strong mid-section that Harvest can lay claim to. This song is about as accessible as a band like this is likely to get, the verse gallops along with the rolling double bass of drummer Mattias Grahn and leads the listener to yet another huge chorus that causes much headbanging to ensue. Odium Generis Humani is the album’s clichéd, yet welll performed, anthem of misanthropy whose tempo goes form blastbeats, to the mid-paced groove of the chorus, to a very slow interlude before the end of the song. Very cool stuff. However, the awesomeness of this track does not go unchallenged for long, as The Darkest Road is in possession of one of the best riffs on the whole album, and thankfully features it as the central hook of what is a great track. I could go on, but the closing tracks are just as solid as the killers that preceded them. Be sure to take note of the short, but sweet solo of Feeding Moloch and the epic melodies and feeling of the closing tracks.

While not sounding as monstrously huge as Dimmu Borgir’s In Sorte Diaboli, Harvest was mixed with great care, finding the perfect balance between powerful clarity (thanks in no small part to a beefed up bass guitar) and organic atmosphere. And with all the tremelo riffs, percussive abuse, and vocal blasphemies oozing out every second of this record, a nice mixing job really helps to make sense of things. It also shows something that these men know how to wield their instruments with the utmost profession, keeping things interesting and impressive, without being too overbearing for most listeners to take in.

If you have decided to skip the previous four paragraphs, know this: Harvest rules. Naglfar doesn’t wallow in murky depression like underground bands Xasthur or Leviathen tend to do. They don’t roar on unstoppably like 1349. What Naglfar has managed to do is to create some fucking good, blackened metal. They may not be the "–est" of anything, but few black metal bands create albums that are a good, solid listen from start to finish. If you want some melodic, catchy black metal that manages to retain it's integrity, you need to check this out very soon.
Killing Songs :
Dylan quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Naglfar that we have reviewed:
Naglfar - Vittra reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Naglfar - Sheol reviewed by Alex and quoted 87 / 100
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