NIDINGR – The High Heat Licks Against Heaven
The experimental Norwegian black/death metal outfit known as Nidingr has to be one of the most underrated and exceptionally talented extreme metal groups of all time. Pretty much each and every release by the band has been a work of art that defies musical boundaries and any vain attempt by overweight loser like me to review it or sum it up in just a few sentences. In other words, the music of Nidingr is original, innovative, and unique. To me, no other band out there sounds like these guys do. Many compare them to Dødheimsgard (DHG) and latter-day Mayhem and the likes, but I will forever hold that Nidingr is a strange and twisted organism with a sound and an identity of its own.
While the two previous releases, "Wolf-Father" (2010) and "Greatest of Deceivers" (2012), were masterpieces and the 2005 debut album belonging way up there on the ladder of brilliance as well, I think it is fair to say that I had high expectations to this brand new 10-track vortex of metal madness entitled "The High Heat Licks Against Heaven". Did it live up to my expectations? Well, not at first. At first I thought that it was excellent and way better than pretty much everything else that gets released these days, but then gradually the album enveloped me in its glowing light of lyrical illumination and surreal musical explorations until I simply had to surrender to its brilliance. It took me a while to decipher the songs and really familiarize myself with them, but I got there in the end, and I am all the better/worse for it. "The High Heat Licks Against Heaven" is an absorbing and compelling album that will challenge the majority of listeners out there. The music is convoluted and progressive, memorable and catchy, epic and bombastic, introspective and yet revealing. In a way, it is both epic in scope and strangely intimate, almost as if Nidingr is telling you a story that is meant for your ears only. In a sense, they are telling you a story in that the lyrics hearken back to some of the themes and motifs that permeated the "Wolf-Father" release, namely the Old Norse Myths, or Norse Mythology, if you will, and the Prose Edda. Each riff enhances the lyrics and vice versa. Everything is connected and fits together perfectly. Nothing is left to chance. The melodies range from beauty to despair and further on to utter destruction while the powerful and hard-hitting vocals courtesy of Cpt. Estrella Grasa are both convincing and overwhelming. The songs are inventive and highly dynamic while the production is less cold and more organic compared to previous Nidingr releases. There is no point in elaborating on just how inhumanly talented and mind-blowing the line-up is considering the names involved; Teloch (Mayhem, NunFuckRitual, ex-God Seed, ex-1349) on guitars, Myrvoll (ex-God Seed, ex-Dødheimsgard) on drums, SIR (ex-God Seed, ex-Trelldom, Djerv, Gaahls Wyrd) on bass, and the aforementioned Cpt. Estrella Grasa on vocals. You get the picture, right?
Featuring awesome guest appearances by none other than Garm (Ulver) on the hypnotic "Ash Yggdrasil" and Myrkur on the melancholic "Naglfar is Loosed", "The High Heat Licks Against Heaven" is an album that you simply have to check out and immerse yourself properly in. It is both reckless and controlled, which ties in perfectly with the stories and myths that constitute Norse Mythology and the Edda. Give it time and it will grow on you. Eventually it will suck you in and leave you begging for more, but you will emerge a much cooler person because of that! This album is not the all-out masterpiece that "Greatest of Deceivers" is, but it is pretty damn close. You need "The High Heat Licks Against Heaven"!