Nidingr - Greatest Of Deceivers
Indie Recordings
Progressive Black Metal
10 songs (46:59)
Release year: 2012
Indie Recordings
Reviewed by Goat

A side-project of Mayhem/Ov Hell guitarist Teloch, Nidingr has put out several albums to quiet levels of acclaim, the latest of these but meeting my ears recently. Greatest Of Deceivers is a smart, sharp album, modern in tone and progressive in style, that takes many listens to really get to grips with. It doesn't help that it's something like late Dødheimsgard in style with a semi-hysterical hoarse vocalist who but rarely changes it up, making songs sound very samey on initial listens. The opening title track sets the tone; a mixture of chugging fury and whirring dissonance, guitars leading the charge with heavy backing from the blasting drums. It's almost awkwardly brutal, the repeated sort-of-chorus seeming out-of-place amidst the general chaos, the musicianship good but mechanical and cold...

...Give it several listens and get used to the album, though, and it reveals its serpentine depths, that unwieldy opening track proving to have moments of instrumental complexity that elevate it into a good frontispiece for the album. The downtuned, bassy rumble of All Crowns Fall flows naturally after, the band growing artsier and allowing the music to breathe and gain both depth and catchiness. Both Teloch and second guitarist Blargh (I know! He joined Dødheimsgard in 2010 so that link and influence is explained) are excellent at their instruments, creating a wall of complex noise that's formed of many riffs overlapping and flowing, often devolving into catchy bassy chugging (both are bassists also, so the union of instruments is fascinatingly complete). The almost black/thrash riff base of O Thou Empty God is wonderful, a solid foundation as the song turns groovy or atmospheric on a moment's notice, the band using both in the same track like some Norwegian version of Morbid Angel and even progging out in a gently Enslaved-y way.

It's hard to pick a poor track. Rags On A Beggar attacks your ears in a typically post-Darkthrone way, but twists that classic template to its own devices, introducing a fine moment of black n'roll swing. The Worm Is Crowned is psychedelic and downright strange, featuring a lovely surprise guest spot from Ulver's Garm who provides a wonderfully Arcturus-y vibe. Pure Pale Gold is something like Ihsahn turned nasty, an almost crust influence in the riff-driven aggression, a gripping, focused wind-tunnel assault on the senses. What especially impresses is the flow of the album, songs flowing on from the previous ones and continuing the theme at first before twisting it subtly - the torrential fury of The Balances and Vim Patior are a good example of this, the complimentary way the latter builds on the former's momentum with added touches of melodic progginess to the speed. Looking at the album as a whole, in some ways it is like one long song; the lack of real variety means it carries you along enjoyably but makes it harder to focus on individual moments if you're not paying enough attention. Be sure to pay that attention however, and you'll discover a gem of an album that will please fans of modern black metal.

Killing Songs :
O Thou Empty God, Rags On A Beggar, The Worm Is Crowned, Pure Pale Gold
Goat quoted 84 / 100
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