Coming seemingly out of nowhere, Germany’s Hangatyr has exploded into 2014 with a superb slab of Norse black metal that is as infectious as it is intense. Bristling with a sonic ferocity as it should in this genre of metal, Hangatyr also has crafted their music around swirling melodies and catchy, simplistic riffs.

While the majority of black metal acts tend to stumble into the familiar trap of trying to be too “kvlt” and mimic everything Darkthrone and Burzum had created in the early ‘90s, Hangatyr fall more in line with fellow countrymen Unlight where their take on the music is more thrashy mixed with some of the classic early Swedish death bands like vintage At the Gates.

Elemente, the quartet’s second full-length release, sports a clean enough production where every instrument is heard clearly, though the album is raw enough that the music has retained plenty of bite throughout the final mix. While the guitar duo of Ali and Tele probably won’t ever be confused with Sherman/Denner or Hanneman/King, they do a splendid job of honing their skills into a collection of songs that each are strong enough to stand on their own feet.

There aren’t any mesmerizing guitar solos scattered all over the place and neither Ali nor Tele ever try to get to fancy with their axemanship; their skill sets anchored by the steady drumming of Micha. Like his stringed bandmates, Micha never goes overboard into trying to create a song within the song. He blasts when he needs to, pours on the double bass when called upon and his fills and rolls pop in and out right on cue. The two sides play off each other beautifully and one side always complements the other.

While front man Silvio isn’t a carbon copy of every other singer within the black metal genre, his raspy, tortured voice isn’t wholly unique, either. Placed in the same stylistic category as the likes of Blaspherion (Unlight), Nag (Tsjuder) and many others, Silvio is more than serviceable in that he doesn’t detract from the songs at all but he doesn’t add anything earth-shattering to it, either. His gnarled vocals perfectly suit the aggression and dark overtones Hangatyr’s sound, though he won’t be mistaken for Ihsahn anytime soon.

While the album is solid from start to finish, the two standout tracks are “Zersetzung” and “Die Sprache der Zwolf”. The sooner is a whirlwind of blistering speed and crushing hooks mixed betwixt enchanting melodies; the latter a perfect blend of blackened death and brooding, mournful acoustics. “Grimmfrost” is also another gem on the release, its more straightforward attack simply barrels over the listener.

All in all, Elemente is a high quality black metal album. For those who fancy their metal plowing through a blizzard in a desolate European forest, this is one of the finest albums of the year thus far. Hangatyr is onto something with their somewhat fresh take on a tired genre, so those who enjoy torches and corpse paint should have already scooped this one up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
April 30th, 2014


  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    Need to get this I hear nothing but great things

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