Fenriz’ Red Planet/Nattefrost - Engangsgrill
Indie Recordings
Traditional Doom Metal/Black Metal
8 songs (39:13)
Release year: 2009
Indie Recordings
Reviewed by Goat

Although it’s marketed as being the collaboration between two Black Metal legends, split release Engangsgrill is far from as exciting as it sounds. For one, Fenriz’ part of the split goes back to 1993, when he finally got around to recording some tracks for his Traditional Doom project Pilgrim Sands (later renamed Red Planet). The three tracks here were actually recorded using the same equipment as was used to record Darkthrone’s classic Transilvanian Hunger, and were a private project for friends until Fenriz gave a tape to Apollyon of Aura Noir, who then played it for Nattefrost in 2002. Eventually, Natty convinced Fenriz to make the tracks available for public consumption, and this is the result, a crazily unbalanced split that joins those tracks of Fenriz’ with some of Natty’s off-cuts from his solo project.

Looking at them in order, then, Fenriz’ material opens the split and it soon becomes clear that this is close to his other side-project Isengard. Clearly worshipping Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Witchfinder General and so on, the three tracks vary between five and seven minutes in length and are surprisingly good if you’re willing to overlook their private side-project amateurishness. Opening track My Ship Sailed Without Me starts with clattering drums before switching to Doomish Celtic Frost-y riffing, Fenriz’ clean vocals quite the surprise when they come in. He sounds more like a drunk Jim Morrison than anything, yet despite the amounts of alcohol he may have put away during the recording, it’s actually a pretty good song, catchy in places with memorable riffing and a good attempt by Fenriz to pay tribute to the vocal gods of old-school Doom. Jon Carter, Man On Mars is a bit groovier and rocks out pretty well, sure to keep Sabbath fans enthralled until it rather disappointingly fades out, whilst Temple Of The Red Dawn Rising continues along a similar path (complete with authentic errors, straight from the master tapes!) but is slightly less good. As a whole, the Fenriz’ Red Planet material is good but not great – if you’re a Doomhead but hate Darkthrone and are wondering who the hell any of these people are, then you probably won’t get much out of this, but fans will enjoy it for what it is.

Nattefrost’s part is harder to classify. The man himself is something of a figure of fun in today’s Black Metal scene, the equivalent of a Johnny Rotten character in his Punkish perversion, and whilst you’d be hard pressed to find a Black Metal fan who doesn’t appreciate some era of Carpathian Forest, not all are as friendly to his distinctly wackier solo project, some offcasts of which are presented here. Nekronaut II – Nekro Spirituals is probably the best track on offer, opening with distant trumpets and a falsetto scream before kicking off into typically headbanging fare, gleefully sloppy screams and bass-heavy punkish Black Metal the order of the day, complete with even more over-the-top than usual Black Metal lyrics. It’s easy to enjoy, easily capable of fitting on one of his solo albums and even a Carpathian Forest release... the disappointment is that the rest of Nattefrost’s part of the split goes downhill pretty quickly. Uskyldighet opens with choking noises and rocks for a little while, but was clearly a bit too Rock N’Roll for inclusion on one of Natty’s albums, and at just two minutes’ length is quickly gone. Otherwise, as fun as the faux-Country opening to Sin Goddamit is, few non-fans will really love it, and as fun as Nattefrost can be with several beers, it’s hard to recommend with a straight face; Lustmord (skulle det dukke opp flere lik er det bare å runke) especially is not worth more than a single listen, being a pseudo-atmospheric piece where we get a lesson about criminal profiling and the names of serial killers are read out over a strangely Jazzy background – clearly a discarded intro or outro.

Overall, as far as splits goes Engangsgrill will probably get more press due to the people involved, but it’s hardly a necessary purchase for anyone but rabid Nattefrost fans or those who genuinely cannot live without knowing what Fenriz playing old-school Doom sounds like. Listening to this knowing what you’re going to get will hardly result in disappointment, but it’s anything but satisfying, and you’d be just as well advised to dig out those Isengard or Nattefrost albums and give them a relisten rather than buy this, although as a curio it’s more than worth picking up if you see it cheap; I wouldn’t advise putting it at the top of your wedding list, however.

Killing Songs :
My Ship Sailed Without Me, Jon Carter Man On Mars, Nekronaut II – Nekro Spirituals
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