Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Monday, September 26, 2022

Review: Niflungar – Rebirth of Salem

Label: Self released

Date: October 31st, 2021

In this review, I’ll try to present you another fruit off the black tree of Serbian metal scene. A fairly newborn project of just one man, though helped by a couple of session members. Niflungar is its name and “Rebirth of Salem” its first full length record. Published after one demo recording a year before.

First of all, I still get a nervous tick when I see a band pushing a demo recording online, with no physical format. Following it in the same manner with the full length. Sign of times, I guess, but I’m simply too old school to accept it. By the way, does anybody else miss the days when Encyclopaedia Metallum allowed only the bands with physical releases on their page?

Anyway, Niflungar is here and “Rebirth of Salem” has been spinning for a while here. And still, I’m struggling for proper words to describe it. Not because I’m speechless with the quality of the record, or because there’s all sorts of spectacular surprises to be found here. Exactly the opposite. The album turns out to be a one way ticket to “averageville”. One where you cannot find a fault, but also lacking any type of “wow factor”.

It’s black metal, that’s for sure. Second wave one, dominated by fiercely melodic guitars, fast (fake) drums and standard screams. Even the topics covered in the lyrics fall in the center of what the genre is largely still about. Perhaps the biggest differentiation could be found in the elongated “Skyclad” which serves as an acoustic outro, but lasts over seven minutes. Together with the keyboard driven title track introduction, it takes almost ten minutes of material here. Almost a third of the whole thing.

The rest is black metal, not too simple, but not too technical either. Aggressive enough, yet far from adrenaline pumping. Cold, but not freezing. A couple of decent riffs and well thought rhythm variations. A solo or two that might raise an eyebrow, but nothing further.

Lyrics do take a bit of a wider spectrum of influences, though they keep to the somewhat similar mood throughout. From Norse mythology to Joan of Arc, minimalistic as they might be, they are not all that bad. Just like the entire release, unfortunately. Not bad, but I don’t see it gaining the band any wider following.

However, there’s one thing that is worth looking over more than a couple of times. Yes, looking over. The cover artwork which is an eye candy. Then again, a comic book type of drawing is hardly fitting a black metal album. But maybe it’s just me.

Better luck next time boys.