Envoy of Lucifer
Niefelheim, just by existing, just by being who they fucking are, are genius conceptualists on par with The Beatles. They’re more metal than Slayer, Sodom, Motorhead, their beloved Iron Maiden (crucial influences all, surely), and a submarine full of nails and guns. By assimilating metal so thoroughly through all their five senses for so long, so intensely, they have become the very essence of the thing itself. They’re like the metal band you would form if you had the guts when you were a teenager — loud and fast and evil, a bat wing logo, long hair, covered in spikes and leather like some sort of S&M (emphasis on the S, obviously) super villain, being metal 24-7, no girls allowed (one famous story is that they fired a band member for having a girlfriend on the grounds of it being wimpy), and crazy-ass aliases — Insulter of Jesus! Yes! In point of fact, twin brothers and undisputed band dictators Tyrant and Hellbutcher have opened a wellspring to eternal inspiration by constantly revisiting the metal fandom of their youth, resulting in vicious and evergreen tunes that Jesus Christ himself would even have to say, “Well, shit maybe I am kind of a dick if their songs are that good.” God, they’re like satanic Oasis brothers! And tell me, have the Gallaghers ever written a tune as raw and (beautiful) as “Open the Gates of Damnation?” No.
And one of the reasons why the album is so good? Man, I’m risking a fucking punch in the mouth for saying this… deep breath… it’s so fucking fun! Ghoulish, exhilarating, fist-to-the-face, fucking, freeing fun. The Heavy Metal Brothers (I didn’t make that up, by the way) have an unshakable knowledge of what sounds cool in metal and they rigidly and aggressively adhere to that template. So you, lucky fucking listener, get all the best moments of death metal, black metal, power metal, NWOBHM, punk rock… oh, just heavy FUCKING metal compressed into one sodden, enthusiastic, spike-encrusted burst. Shrieking high-pitched vocals, labyrinthine lead guitar, riffing that surges from speed metal blur to death metal crunch to blackened blood worship, pounding fucking awesomely tight drumming from (ex-Entombed) Insulter of Jesus Christ, with absolutely no time for any of the avant-garde tendencies that have been insinuating their way into metal’s more extreme fringes. Their band should be your life. Highlights include the march-or-die madness of “Open the Gates of Damnation,” the blackened hyper-tense thrash of “Storm of the Reaper,” the church bells and demonic laughter that begin “Envoy of Lucifer’s” rabid head charge, and the profane chants in the middle of “Raging Flames” right before a great Maidenesque solo run.
Highly recommended from beginning to end. Nifelheim expertly merges primitive black metal aggression with European power metal theatrics and thrash-punk fuck you-ness the same way the rest of us breathe air — instinctively. They know that the Devil has all the best tunes and while that lightweight was snoozing after a Destruction concert, they sneaked in and nicked them all, alongside a bunch of Iron Maiden picture discs. YOINK!
Regain Records: www.regainrecords.com