Saturday, February 4, 2012

Nåstrond - Digerdöden (1995)

Not long after the release of From a Black Funeral Coffin, Nåstrond returned with the Digerdöden E.P. Recorded in the winter of 1994/1995, this 7" picked up from where the previous demo left off, yet actually represented a sort of regression for the band, as the approach seemed to be even more raw and primitive than before. Released in early 1995, this collection of songs sounds as if it came a few years too late, though not entirely.

The production is absolutely horrid. This is not a good example of a necro sound. This is more a case of a band falsely trying to get a rotten sound, simply because they felt it was necessary for them to be taken seriously, perhaps. Digerdöden is much more raw and under-produced than the demo that preceded it, as well as the album that followed. In a sense, this almost comes off like Nåstrond's answer to Wrath of the Tyrant, by Emperor. The overall sound quality is very similar, though this does not possess the same genuine feeling as that recording. Even some of the riffs seem reminiscent of early Emperor. One of the main problems with this release has to be the drumming. It sounds like the drummer is pounding on cardboard boxes, at times, while the double-bass in the background gives an inauthentic vibe to the music. Either way, it is too high in the mix, though the sound quality is so poor that the guitar riffs are difficult to discern and the melodies end up being kind of washed-out.

Musically, this E.P. features a few tracks of average Black Metal. There is nothing going on here that had not already been done much better, a dozen times. The material is not bad, but the songwriting is too unoriginal and derivative of the bands that influenced them. One can get a hint of Nåstrond's rather interesting and unique style of guitar melodies, but this is buried by the shoddy production and a plethora of generic riffs that frame these ephemeral passages. It consists mostly of fast tremolo riffs, blast beats and grim vocals that hardly stand out. The overall presentation is lackluster, though this should appeal to anyone that is simply wanting to hear more raw mid-'90s Scandinavian Black Metal. It is too bad that Toteslaut did not feature a sound similar to this release, as the superior songwriting and musicianship would have benefited from a more raw and primitive sound, so long as it still allowed the riffs to be clearly heard.

Digerdöden is not especially significant or essential, but it is a decent effort that keeps up the traditions of the northern Black Metal sound. If you are the type to collect albums, simply to have more of a certain style (no matter how mediocre they may be), then this is for you. Not the band's finest work, but not terrible either. Give it a listen, if it is convenient to do so.