Nordjevel has carved out a space for themselves in the Norwegian black metal scene in a short amount of time but considering that their lineup is comprised of seasoned veterans from a slew of different bands that this shouldn’t be that surprising. Since the Krigsmakt EP in 2017 there have been some lineup changes with drummer Nils Fjellström (The Wretched End, ex-Dark Funeral) and guitarist Destructhor (Myrkskog, ex-Zyklon) joining the ranks, but their overall sound on follow-up Necrogenesis has retained that familiar chill and overwhelming intensity that does the second-wave justice without merely rehashing it. With just the right amount of variation to the songwriting and a razor-sharp production, Nordjevel showcases there’s still plenty of life left in the more traditional variants of black metal.
One of the areas where the group stands out is in their songwriting, as it proves to be a bit more dynamic and versatile than you might initially expect. Where a lot of black metal of this type lets the harsher intensity and speed drive things forward with little in the way of variation, Nordjevel switches things up frequently and when they do choose to blast at high speed there’s a level of technicality to the playing that stands out. Necrogenesis has a little bit of everything that you could want from the genre, as there’s plenty of breakneck blasting that proceeds with a warlike cadence alongside some slower, ominous sections that let the darker atmosphere fester. Where other albums might have displayed the full scope of their songwriting and fallen into repetition by the halfway point, Nordjevel’s instrumentalists display strong writing for the entire run-time and keep your attention from beginning to end. It also helps that the production is even better than before, coming off as a bit less compressed and allowing the guitar work to steal the show. All the individual elements may not fall far from what Norwegian black metal is known for, but these guys continue to put their own stamp on it and deliver much more substance than your average band.
Vocalist Doedsadmiral has been quite busy this year, as his other band Svartelder released its sophomore effort only a few months ago. There’s a noticeable difference in his approach to both groups, as with Nordjevel’s speed and ferocity his screaming comes through as more powerful and forceful. The raspier pitch and range is reminiscent of Arioch from Marduk and Funeral Mist, which is well suited to the overall sound that the band is going for throughout Necrogenesis. It also helps that the vocals are very prominent in the mix and often stand tall above the instrumentals with a commanding presence, coming through with just a bit more clarity and separation compared to its predecessor. With just the right amount of variation to the performance, the vocals provide a similar level of versatility as the rest of the band.
Nordjevel’s sophomore effort doesn’t deviate far from its Norwegian black metal roots, but its writing showcases a varied attack and plenty of substance behind the blasts and icy melodic leads. There’s just the right amount of modern sheen over the jagged edges and grit of the genre, making this an album that’s worth cranking all the way up so you can get leveled by its destruction again and again. Necrogenesis is out now from Osmose Productions.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
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