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Naglfar - Diabolical

1999 WAR Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-08

I consciously waited a few weeks after getting to this to pop out a review, and for good reason, as this is rapidly becoming one of my most played discs. Upon first listen, Diabolical is almost a constant blur of blinding techinicality, which is cold, mechanical and precise. It was only repeated plays (of which there were many) that the nuances and musical brilliance residing inside escaped. The pace is pretty consistent, and there are some real burners here, speedwise (Blades is just insane, but songs are built on melody, giving an emotional feel which is only apparent on certain, rare releases. With everything that I hear, there has to be something pretty special for me to pull it from the stacks, and Diabolical is one of those releases. So make a sound comparison, let's say a hyper Dissection, albeit much tighter in the rhythm department. Nice use of bass guitar in the mix, and I'm sure the vocalist is possessed, but it's the guitar lines that are truly memorable, layered with just a hint of keyboards to provide a sound which drives but is not muddy. Hats off to the production staff for this job! Requisite piano track is a nice (boy I'm tempted to say anacrusis here) lead-in to the final track, closing an album which may just be one of the top ten of the year. Outstanding job, I'm thoroughly impressed.