Black metal. It’s a genre you either shudder from or latch onto like middle class America to 1950’s family values, and it’s normally a genre that gets shunned by its own fans if it tries to step outside of their dearly held conventions (ironically enough). What Nidingr have forged here is a record that stomps on that line, flirting with punk and crust metal throughout the standard black metal lyrics and riffs. It’s a heavy metal hybrid, a perfectly arranged din of sonic excellence born of some great musical ideas.
‘All Crowns Fall’ is one great example of this with moments reminiscent of doom and sludge, drawling riffs backed by sonorous bass and mountainous ambition. This is the hand of Satan grabbing the balls of music and squeezing out genre archetypes and conventions, which the album might fall into every now and then to fill thirty seconds or so, but by no means relies on. There are so many different metal subgenres contained inside this writhing audio animal it’s impossible, tedious and pointless to count them all out. ‘O Thou Empty God’ probably has six or seven different influences fused together by itself. Even if you’re not a fan of black metal’s aggressive, anti-theological overtones, this has enough of a little bit of everything thrown together to warrant a listen.
From a purely impartial point of view it’s a good album with some genuinely refreshing ideas about the genre, but the black metal purists aren’t going to appreciate the relatively ‘lighter’ hard punk and crust undercurrents (never mind the fact that those genres are much, much harder and faster than you’re ever going to hear on the charts). But if you think your only experience of black metal is Cradle of Filth and their extreme ilk, you’re wrong – this genre has so much more to offer and Nidingr exemplify that entirely.
Reviewer: Laurence Stark