Nifelheim - Envoy of Lucifer
Regain Records
Blackened Thrash Metal
10 songs (44'05")
Release year: 2008
www.myspace.com/nifelheimofficial, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

Nifelheim … In Norse mythology the dreadfully cold Hell where the corpse goddess Hel stalks through the mists and the serpent Corpse-Ripper slithers across the frost to gnaw on the dead. Nifelheim … This is where you end up if you did not die in battle, the exact opposite of the glorified Valhalla where those who died with a sword in their hands feast, fight and praise Odin. Nifelheim … The Swedish black metal band which achieved kvlt status due to their consistent Satanic message, rare live performances because of the unstable lineup, scant full-length releases and unfortunate association with the infamous Necropolis Records.

2008 sees Nifelheim if not reborn, then at least recharged, a couple of Necrophobic guitarists lending their spiked collective hand to the pair of twins known as Hellbutcher (vocals) and Tyrant (bass) responsible for most of what was Nifelheim thus far.

Envoy of Lucifer does nothing to demean Nifelheim’s reputation even if it does not quite match the stellar classic Servants of Darkness. The latest Nifelheim is full-on racing, spilling over the brim, stumbling over itself thrash with melodic hooks firmly planted in the flesh, Iron Maiden and Sodom worship still on display. A few songs tend to go into the deranged territory, Evocation of the End, title track and Raging Flames blasting out way too chaotically, even though Evocation of the End manages to slip in the odd harmony. This nutty slightly less crusty bastardized version of Bestial Mockery is not quite how I remembered the Swedes. On the other hand, once the vomit and grime are wiped off, the best Nifelheim is still the one rooted in the almost traditional metal, the band proclaimed to be the Motorhead of the Swedish blackened thrash school. No Witchery can usurp this throne.

Blaring leads and catchy melodies of the opener Infernal Flame of Destruction, anthemic chorus of Open the Gates of Damnation, simplistic but convincingly driving home rhythm of Evil Is Eternal with its mocking jestering leads – these numbers, along with Belial’s Prey, are my favorite moments on Envoy of Lucifer. Nifelheim’s guitar tone is the skull piercing threnody (Claws of Death), even if slightly higher in tone than classic Entombed/Dismember. Hellbutcher delivers vomitous growl sprinkled with resounding roars characteristic of his frayed throat. Spoken, a touch processed, evil spoken word is added for further spookiness (Evil Is Eternal). The drumming on the record is a touch behind the riffs, rather obvious on faster songs, but those Iron Maiden nods have been given a crown jewel status, see the intro of Evil Is Eternal, Raging Flames and the epic closer No More Life, pun on the original No More Lies apparently intended.

Someone on the staff once asked me to give the example of blackened thrash and, mea culpa, somehow the notion of Nifelheim escaped me. Not having many albums released over their almost 15 year career may have had something to do with it. However, having played Envoy of Lucifer for the last couple of weeks I can’t think right now of a better case in point when thrash roots are so densely and organically covered with blackened filthy soot. This music has to kill live as well.

Killing Songs :
Infernal Flame of Destruction, Open the Gates of Damnation, Storm of the Reaper, Evil Is Eternal, Belial's Prey
Alex quoted 77 / 100
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