NAGELFAR — Srontgorrth (review)

NAGELFAR — Srontgorrth album cover Album · 1999 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Officially titled SRONTGORRTH: Die Macht Erfaßte Das Meine Wie Die Angst Das Blut Der Anderen (lit. "Power seized mine [my blood] like fear [seized] the blood of the others”), the German black metal band NAGELFAR followed up their debut “Hünengrab im Herbst” with a loose concept album that continued the Pagan themes in the form of the four seasons, the first three tracks of which were remakes taken from their earlier demos and polished into black metal bombs to be dropped with impunity. The fourth track eschews the metal world altogether and the final takes an extended black metal journey that extends past the 18 minute mark. Altogether, the album races past the 70 minute mark and although technically the second album, drummer and founder Alexander von Meilenwald claims that this was not their second album but merely their second release. OK, whatever!

While the debut was a stellar mix of bombastic black metal with Pagan Germanic folk mixed in with some atmospheric electronics, SRONTGORRTH is noticeably a heavier beast altogether that after a few tinkering of electronica industrial frigid effects finds an endless parade of Zorn’s heavily distorted black metal bass and guitar riffs whizzing by at a million miles an hour, a much angrier vocal frenzy provided by Jander and an almost incessant pummelation of blastbeats and drumming power pounding like there’s no tomorrow. While Garvin provides some easily discerned keyboards that add an atmospheric touch, they are merely supplemental elements to a bombastic frenzy that rarely lets up. Andy Classen adds additional bass parts and i’m not sure who performs where.

Track listings are truncated on most databases but their official titles are ridiculously long.

ONE "Kapitel Eins. Der Frühling: Als die Tore sich öffnen... (Freiheit oder Untergang?)" – Chapter One. The Spring: As the Gates Open... (Freedom or Ruin?) – 16:45 (a) Sonnenfinsternis Eins: Zeit der Schatten – Solar Eclipse One: Time of Shadows (b) Eine Geburt – A Birth (c) Sonnenfinsternis Zwei: Unter neuen Wolken – Solar Eclipse Two: Under New Clouds (d) Wind der Verwesung – Wind of Rotting

TWO Kapitel Zwei. Der Sommer: Die Existenz jenseits der Tore (Begreifen des Bewußtseins ist Streben nach Wissen) – Chapter Two. The Summer: Existence on the Other Side of the Gates (Understanding of Consciousness Is Striving After Knowledge) – 16:10 (a) Mein Thron auf den Leibern verstorbener Freunde – My Throne upon the Bodies of My Dead Friends (b) Mondschatten – Moonshade

THREE Kapitel Drei. Der Herbst: Endzeit (Vernunft siegt über Nostalgie) – Chapter Three. The Autumn: Endtime (Reason Triumphs over Nostalgia) – 9:18

FOUR Kapitel Vier. Der Winter: Trümmer – Chapter Four. The Winter: Debris – 9:35

FIVE Kapitel Fünf. Willkommen zu Haus (...denn keine Sonne schmelzt mich, das Licht, die Freiheit, den Untergang) – Chapter Five. Welcome Home (...Because No Sun Melts Me, the Light, the Freedom, the Ruin) – 18:09

The tracks are also ridiculously long as well with the first two extending past the 16 minute mark, the third and fourth clocking in over 9 and the grand finale just over 18! For the most part, the album chugs along at breakneck speed and while incorporating the Pagan folk elements of the debut, they are submerged beneath the incessant buzzsaw and blastbeat freneticism that is omnipresent. The only exception to this is when a rather darkened techno electronica steals the show with no metal whatsoever. This happens as intros, outros and for the entire track of “Kapitel Vier” which is like a more evil sounding Ulcer track from albums like “Perdition City.” This album was quite impossible to find after the original label Kettenhund went bankrupt but has been re-released on the Van label with a bonus CD of the tracks from the original demos, unessential extras but quite possibly the only way you can find a physical format.

While not as consistently awesome as “Hünengrab im Herbst” and clearly lacks the diverse dynamics that made that one so special, SRONTGORRTH, despite consisting of a few recycled tracks and a few tag alongs created to fill it out is still quite the brilliant black metal listening experience. Sometimes the album does become a little monotonous as the album has progressive metal album track lengths except without the progressive parts being included but it does provide a bombastic mesmerizing experience with some excruciating instrumental workouts. There are a few cooling off periods where the epic clean sung vocals come in but for the most part this album is a raspier, heavier and incessantly blacker album than its predecessor. While i’ll always prefer the debut to this sophomore release, SRONTGORRTH is premium melodic black metal in the vein of bands like Dissection with pseudo-tech prowess but serious brutal chops all the way.
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