Naglfar
Diabolical + Vittra Reissues

No you’re are not imagining things. Regain has Re-Re issued Naglfar’s two best albums and though 1995’s Vittra was already re-issued in 2001 (also on Regain) and 1998’s superb Diabolical was re-issued and re-mastered in 2002, here are those exact reissues, again. I’m not complaining thought as I get to review and gush about Diabolical, one of my very favorite black/death metal albums ever.

For Vittra you get the 2001 re-issue complete with the three bonus tracks; original track “12th Rising” and two covers, Iron Maiden’s “The Evil That Men Do” and Kreator’s Pleasure To Kill. For Diabolical you simply get the original WAR Music release with a effective remastering job-no bonus tracks, even of the re-re issue I’m afraid.

If the post-Jens Ryden albums like Pariah and Harvest are you only exposure to Sweden’s Naglfar, then you need these albums as they simply blow newer Naglfar away. Vittra, for it’s time was considered a mighty fine Dissection-esque album; a blackened melodic death metal album full that came across as a nastier early Dark Tranquility with a black metal razors edge and delicate atmospherics. Granted even the re-issue has some productions issues and could have used some remastering as its sounds pretty raw compared to Diabolical, but song wise, you get to hear some of Naglfar’s finest, more primal early moments like “The Twilight Gave Birth to Night” and “Enslave the Astral Fortress”.

However, though as much as I enjoy Vittra in its many forms, Diabolical simply remains one of my most played albums ever. Having at some point owned the original WAR version, the 2002 re –issue and now this version, the album is one of those rare albums I just keep coming back too almost 10 years later. Above and beyond the seething, razor sharp, tangibly slicing production of the guitars and Ryden’s possessed screams, several songs on Diabolical are just classics that have aged superbly to these ears; the blistering opening of “Horncrowned Majesty”, the moody close of “Embracing the Apocalypse”, the simply stunning mid paced tenacity of “The Brimstone Gate” (still one of my very favorite metal songs ever), the voracious assault of the aptly titled “Blades” and the epic closer “Diabolical –The Devil’s Child”-all just show how much better music was in the middle/late 90’s.

Sure, Naglfar seemed to be aping elements from Marduk, Dissection, Emperor , Dark Tranquility and other heavy hitting peers of the day, but they did in such as way to make for 9 brilliant, memorable standalone tracks that have stood the test of time and need (yet) another generation of listeners to appreciate them to show that though Naglfar’s recent offerings are solid, they are no where near as amazing as their first two releases.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 6th, 2007

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