It's been eight long years for fans of the frostbitten sounds of Naglfar. Once favourites in the Swedish black metal scene, the previous eight years have left the band, for many, mostly forgotten about with the occasional revisit to some of their great past work including ‘Pariah’.
Hope was restored somewhat however with the announcement of ‘Cerecloth’, a new record deal with Century Media and a sign of things to come with some new material surfacing. But is all of this enough to revive interests in a genre that has seen a massive evolution over the last decade?
The title track opens the album and one thing is instantly obvious. This is the exact same Naglfar from all those years ago. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as we make our way through the tracks, there’s a hope for a little something more. It’s a strong opener however with that key savage sounding guitar work which has become a staple in the bands song writing since day one. There’s an initial excitement to hear the band back and doing what they do best.
The excitement continues with ‘Horns’ that gallops and marches its way to victory. At this point, we are remembering all the things that made Naglfar great. The track even provides us with a moment or two realising that as a fan, we’ve missed this. The bands ability to remain mostly melodic with that cold frostbitten black metal sound is still near on perfection even if occasionally tainted with the odd out of place and unnecessary guitar solo.
We had our first taste on 2020’s Naglfar with ‘Vortex Of Negativity’. Approaching the half way mark, its easy to see why this was the track to welcome us back. It has everything that a perfectly executed Naglfar track has. Everything that made the fans fall in love with the band is here. From the guitar work and the melody brought to the table, to the blast beats, perfectly balanced in the mix.
The problem with the comeback, there’s an expectation that something new and refreshing is being brought to the table. ‘Cerecloth’ sits in this weird category where it’s definitely not a bad record by any means, but the band seem to have simply picked up where the left things back in 2012. For the die hard’s, this will be a much welcome return.
For those seeking something new and different, in a genre that is much bigger now than it was back then, may find their fix somewhere else.