Thursday, November 24, 2011

Satanic Warmaster - Nachzehrer (2010)

It was a curious path taken by Satanic Warmaster, following Carelian Satanist Madness, to release material only via limited split albums and various EPs. With the band's growing popularity, one would think that these guys would have capitalized on it rather than to exist on the periphery. After five long years, Werwolf finally decided to record another full-length. Released in August 2010, Nachzehrer picks up from where the previous album left off, and shows absolutely no sign of development or improvement. All in all, this is not a very significant collection of songs, even by the band's own standards. Still, it is likely to appeal to the less discerning Black Metal fans of this pathetic era, unaware that most modern releases are pale imitations of what came before.

The first thing that listeners may notice is the extremely lo-fi production, sounding quite a bit like a demo from twenty years earlier. This would not be such a bad thing, except that it is just too thick and muddy, lacking any sort of cold or harsh feeling. The lack of sharpness to the guitar tone adds to the safe and non-threatening sound. This warm vibe works for tracks like "Vampires" and "Bestial Darkness", that include out-of-place Death Metal riffs, but it does not work for the rest of the material. As a result of the thick and percussive sound, many of the better riffs seem somewhat buried and this gives the songs kind of claustrophobic feel. For the most part, the music is rather consistent, albeit amounting mostly to rather generic and more palatable interpretations of real Black Metal, simplified and pre-digested for the masses. That said, there are a handful of decent tremolo melodies, such as those found in "Satan's Werewolf" and "Warmaster Returns". "One Shining Star" isn't too bad, but is very reminiscent of some of the material from Opferblut. It includes some of the better riffs on the album, but one gets the impression of having already heard them.

In the end, there is nothing on this album that has not been heard a dozen times before. Satanic Warmaster often seems to be more about the image and posturing than in achieving a higher level of quality regarding the actual music. Werwolf needs to spend less time playing with his knives and posing in front of cameras and worry more about composing better songs. There are only two or three decent tracks on here, so it would almost be more fitting to stick with the split releases or to just lay this project to rest and rejoin Horna. If you are a fan, then Nachzehrer should not disappoint, so long as you did not raise your expectations since the last record.