Hey black metal guys, one thing to remember when trying to create a sense of austerity is that you have to have a sense of melodic progression, however primitive. Nattfog play some of my favorite type of black metal: dreary, subtly folkish, rhythmic and speckled with hypnotic lead guitar and vocals that are very “Finnish”. Burzum and early Blut Aus Nord vibes abound on Mustan Auringon Riitti and that subtle sense of melody is never lost. Living in Seattle for example, this record fits perfectly with a cold, rainy and stubborn Northwestern winter which has shown itself unwilling to leave.
The main melodic motif on “Path of White Wolves” may sound like “Sweet Dreams” after a while but the whole song is encased in a such a way that it’s hard to care. In fact most melodies are relatively simple but the sense of steady rhythm and decent drum fills keep things from getting stagnant. “Mieleni Mustissa Merissa” is a pretty good track and recalls the Lunar Poetry era of Nokturnal Mortum. Unlike the Ukrainians though, the only use of keyboards comes during an interlude and the closing track “Kaksitoista Askelta Luvattuun Valtakuntaan”. It’s actually quite welcome and subtly executed. In the album’s closing moments they’re used to augment a Conan-esque war drum sequence that closes out the album. The use of rainfall sound effects actually wins points in my book so beware of that if you find it cheesy. Nattfog‘s only real downfall is a lack of variation in mood. Though I’m by no means suggesting they get into some quasi-operatic goth crap, some ambient melodic clearings in the middle of songs could really add to the dreary feel they are going for and help to create something that really stands out. Though I’m not sure many people will drop their other atmospheric black metal records for this one, the vocals, riffs and progressions are all done with professionalism and it’s easy to get lost in this album.
Check out these and other noteworthy underground dwellers over at Hammer of Hate’s website.
This full-length debut is out on Hammer of Hate records.