September 21st, 2012
Release length: 38:28
First and foremost, this definitely does go in a raw path, but not in the modern tradition. The music itself sounds a bit hollow, while the vocals are crisp. The guitars have a decent sharper edge that is dulled due to the lower, distant volume, and the bass guitar isn’t that dominating, but the lower tones do help to fill the recording well. The drumming sounds pretty good and matches the levels of the guitars, especially in the slight boom of the snares, the still rather crisp cymbals, and bass kicks that have a hint of thud going on in them to add some extra edge. But, comparing the quality of the music to the vocals becomes rather hard, as the latter are much more digital and further upfront in the mix with a standard rhaspy approach that can sometimes sound uninspired, or even a bit cheesy if there’s a strong echo effect on them, or just a general distortion of some kind.
But, one thing is for sure: The album is rather cold and grim, though not always that engaging. NettleCarrier isn’t the most unique or fresh offering for the style by any means, but it does have its share of enjoyable tracks. “The Boiling Blood” is a faster song that rips right into the listener the second it starts. There are some haunting leads here and there, but for the most part it’s a traditional second wave Black Metal offering with a good deal of intensity behind the music, though not always behind the vocals. The tighter performance creates a very rich sound at all times, which is something that does end up being lost in later songs. “Paa Vaare Paaler deres hoder” is another strong offering that features a richer performance with some faster material. Later passages also include some commanding drumming that really takes center stage on the song, working well with the less enthusiastic vocals to give off a very serious atmosphere with a decent amount of hostility thrown in to keep the listener hooked.
“Demoriel” mixes together some simpler, less rich mid-pace material that also seems to have some off-beat cymbals once in a while, as well as some of the heaviest, most authority-driven material you’ll find on the album despite the unmistakeable typical second wave Black Metal sound that eminates throughout. There’s plenty of shifts in the music too that really keep the listener on his or her toes, which helps to break up some of the monotony that does come through from time to time. But, of all the slower paced material that appears, it’s “Naar Han Vaakner” that gets it right. The chords here work with the creeping flow of the song to create a somewhat burdening sound, and a grim, haunting atmosphere at the same time. Some of the heavier bridges that appear are instantly infectious, finding your head bobbing along to the rhythm.
NettleCarrier doesn’t bring anything new to the table, nor is it really worth going out of your way to hear or own. The music has a subtle atmosphere you can pick up on, and it sounds good during some of the faster, heavier offerings. For a band that has been around since 2004, this debut full-length album some roughly eight years later doesn’t come off as anything more than a safe attempt to reach the general Black Metal populus. Thankfully it does give a decent amount of quality songs that are enjoyable, but in many ways are not quite as memorable. If you’re curious on what NettleCarrier brings to the table, then taking the time to sample this album digitally at an MP3 retailer is worth doing, as long as you don’t go in with high expectations.
01. The Boiling Blood – 4:44
02. Paa Vaare Paaler deres hoder – 6:48
03. I Helvete Kristus Skal Forgaa – 5:19
04. Naar Han Vaakner – 6:49
05. Demoriel – 4:47
06. Cup Of Lethe – 2:24
07. Bundet Til Masten – 7:37
|Overall Score: 6.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Indie Recordings.