Nidingr – The High Heat Licks Against Heaven
How have I not heard of this band before?! I discovered Nidingr because of Season of Mist launching pre-orders for THHLAH. The artwork intrigued me, despite or maybe because of the amount of symbolism that could easily be perceived as sketchy. So my curiosity led me to research the band’s background and check out their music.
The lyric video for ‘On Dead Body Shore’ conveniently served as an answer to my questions: First off, Nidingr are not an NSBM band, despite what you might suspect with all of these runes and symbols plastered all over the (frankly, amazing) artwork by Metastazis. The song is drenched in nordic mythology and tells a vivid viking tale. And the music is fucking great, so that’s a win-win. This particular song has a uniquely epic quality to it and features what I like to call a (killer!!!) “story-telling riff” starting at the 0:43 mark, which perfectly fits the lyrical context.
Besides that, Nidingr have a quite experimental approach on this album. I checked out their entire discography, and while I legitimately liked all of it a lot, I feel like THHLAH stands out. It is definitely more dynamic than their older, more straight forward material. Nidingr often slow things down for minimalistic, haunting moments, only to erupt in dissonant Black Metal frenzy. The riffs on THHLAH are often reminiscent of Mayhem’s latest material, which comes as no surprise – both bands share guitarist Teloch after all. What surprises me, though, are the downtuned and seriously heavy Death Metal riffs Teloch throws into the mix every now and then.
The many contrasts Nidingr create on this album may not seem to fit very well on paper, but somehow it all falls into place flawlessly. ‘The High Heat Licks Against Heaven’ is a perfect storm and definitely one of the early highlights of the year. I recommend the rest of their discography as well. Get into it!