Nàttsòl: Stemning

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Nàttsòl: Stemning
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Nàttsòl: Stemning
Black Metal
Lupus Lounge, Prophecy Productions
June 11th, 2010
Release length: 37:17
Myspace
Nàttsòl is a Black Metal act from Norway, and Stemning is not only the band’s first full-length, but also their debut material offering with lyrics that typically cover Nature and related topics. This debut album is definitely one that stands out in the growing Black Metal community, and even pulls from various other influences such as bringing Viking and even Pagan aspects here and there on the release, which only helps to enhance the sound of the album greatly. Each track of this release is simply fantastic, well done Black Metal, and creates a release that even the most picky fan of this style will greatly embrace.

Stemning isn’t one of the most raw albums of this style available, but it’s got a decent amount of analog sound to it instead of a clear digital polished album. Much of the music of the album flows at a decently mid-tempo pace with random semi-blast beats thrown in here and there, as well as some fast paced double kicks that often speed up out of nowhere to build up some intensity within the music. This really does help in keeping the album to a solid natural flow from song to song, while also helping the keep the release from being very repetitive. The main draw of this release happens to be the clean vocals that adorn the album, and are performed more as what one would hear in a viking based form of metal, primarily of this genre, and happen to be in the background a bit more then the general wailing that comes from a Black Metal release, and also a bit hollowed so that it often comes off supernatural, all the while keeping the same echoes that the main vocal performance has.

of course, this release features plenty of songs that are typically much longer then traditional metal acts, with the longest being the second song, “Ved Baal I Kveldstime”, which is a great song that really shakes things up for the album. The band manages to throw in some well placed acoustic guitars, almost as if to make it known to the user that the song seems to be changing some kind of chapter within the song, but without actually changing the music. This track also features the supernatural singing mentioned above, but the ending brings in a more emotional vocal presentation that sounds like an emotional wail of pain in a sense, which is also pushed in the background a bit, most by the volume of the wailing in the recording, but also has a slight effect on it that makes it sound a little hollow, feeding into the inhuman aspect (as in the aforementioned supernatural sound), and works well with the song in general to create a nice atmosphere to the closing of the song, as well as make the track stand out more against the rest of the album and keep the listener intentive during it’s seven and a half minute run.

The atmosphere of this album is what really makes it work. While the release doesn’t necessarily vary from many Black Metal acts similar to this band, there really is more of an emotional feel to the music here. The music here features some great hard hitting material, but at the pace it is being played, as well as some of the more melodically paced riffs tacked on with blisteing double bass kicks and drumming that often goes well to bridge both the riffs and the kicks winds up creating a rather victorious feel many of the songs, such as during “Ved Fjell I Vinterblaest” a little more then half way through when the guitar solo seem to kick in, and goes with a very slow paced style of simple chords played along with the already established music prior to the song slowing down for some more acoustic music that suits the song well and furthers along the emotional feel of the album when it is joined by whispered singing and spoken words that end the song. This isn’t the only occurance of the atmosphere being the main driving point of the album, as the first track, “Ved Aas I Haustmoerket” features the aforementioned viking-like singing that works it’s way into the song nicely to bring in a rather victorious feel to the release as well.

The only song that doesn’t quite have this push of emotion is the song “Ved Elv I Eismal Stund”, which seems to take the music in a slightly different way. Yes, atmosphere still plays a role here, and the song often has a somewhat victorious, yet gloomy feel, like others on this album, but this one is the hardest, and one of the fastest tracks off the album at times, and seems to play more towards a standard Black Metal song then anything. It features the rhaspiest Black Metal vocals, as well as some gutteral vocals here and there, as well as the singing in the background, but it just doesn’t seem to have the same kind of vibe that others have, in fact it almost sounds rather evil, almost demonic at times due to the deeper vocal performance, as well as just has typical clean singing against all the other vocal implimentations on the album, but at times they seem to be almost random and often don’t quite work with the music in the long run, leaving the song feeling more complex then the rest with a rather nice epic ending to the song, but ultimately a bit too cluttered and a little boring thanks to some of the randomness mentioned. However, with the way the album progresses, the intensity of the song does seem to become necessary due to the melancholic closing track “Ved Hav I Avdagsleitet” performed with a female singer, flutes, and acoustic guitars that give it a more folk feeling then anything. This song, however, does not quite save that track in the end.

So, outside that one track, “Ved Elv I Eismal Stund”, Stemning by Nàttsòl winds up being a very well composed album that really plays on the listener in more ways then simply being a composed album that he or she can enjoy. Each song is particularly enjoyable in it’s own, with the exception of one, and clearly follows a conceptual path that really seems to be carried out well in the music. Unfortunately I cannot understand the language the lyrics are in, nor can find the lyrics due to the review copy being a promotional digital version provided by the label and it being performed in another language, but given the flow of the album and the musical progression throughout, it’s easy to assume that it exists. Even without the understanding of the lyrics, conceptual or not, this release is a fine piece of Black Metal that any fan of the style should check out.

01. Ved Aas I Haustmoerket – 5:52
02. Ved Baal I Kveldstime – 7:33
03. Ved Skog I Natterstid – 6:26
04. Ved Fjell I Vinterblaest – 6:09
05. Ved Elv I Eismal Stund – 6:02
06. Ved Hav I Avdagsleitet – 5:15
Overall Score: 7/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Lupus Lounge via Prophecy Records.