Nidingr – Greatest of Deceivers

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Review by Jason Guest

Indie Recordings

As if the artwork doesn’t make it clear enough, yep, it’s another black metal album attacking that allegedly-benevolent-but-somehow-unfathomably-so big guy in the sky. And yep, it’s rife in riffs, wrath and ruthless revolt. And so, Greatest of Deceivers, Nidingr’s latest album – and only their third in their sixteen year existence – doesn’t bear too much in the way of originality. At heart, it’s black metal, pure and simple. With a line up a long time drenched in the dark arts and acquainted with some of the gravest in the not-so-underground-anymore, Nidingr display much in the way of wisdom and use the genre to their advantage.

With the wall of fiery riffs, dissonant chugs and ice-cold, blackly majestic melodies that pervade the opening title track, the band’s strength soon comes to the fore. Their juxtaposition of the soft and the harsh and of the atmospheric and the blackly ferocious emphasises their theatrical and dynamic control. As the album continues, the black vista broadens and Nidingr’s melodic, dynamic, and rhythmic capacities further develop as the trem-picked riffs and regal chords collide with the barren wastelands of the sparse guitar work, the tracks intensifying like a fist slowly clenching around razor wire. Compositionally, Nidingr balance their creative urge for the challenging with the textural and, almost as if to prove they can do it, throw in a couple of tracks that are more straight-ahead black metal than the rest of the album. The two and a half minute hyperblast of ‘The Balances’ and the brutal ‘Vim Patior’ are both barbarous salvoes, the drums like being blasted in the balls by seemingly ceaseless high-velocity ball bearings.

Kvltits such as Von and Crowned may well choose to remain within the “tradition” of lo-fi production to give their raw savagery that kvlt authenticity, but like label-mates God Seed, Nidingr haven’t allowed such aesthetic allegiance to hinder their musical vision. The production is remarkable, because in playing a vital role in the music, each instrument is given its own space from where its gruesome grandeur can be growled, snarled, barked and bellowed. While Teloch’s (of Mayhem and The Konsortium, among others) and Blargh’s complex guitar work delivers as much in ire as it does in atmosphere, beneath this scorching, bitter surface is their incredible bass-work. Instead of the instrument being relegated to the muck and mire of near absence behind the guitars and drums, the bass is fully utilised in the overall aesthetic as sinister melodies laced with menace provide an interesting counterpoint to the guitars and, especially, Cpt. Estrella Grasa’s anguished and tortured screams. Combined with the excellent song-writing, ambitious, creative, and with an intelligent and progressive side to it, Greatest of Deceivers is remarkable.

8 out of 10

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Track listing:

  1. Greatest Of Deceivers
  2. All Crowns Fall
  3. O Thou Empty God
  4. The Balances
  5. Vim Patior
  6. Rags Upon A Beggar
  7. The Worm Is Crowned
  8. Pure Plae Gold
  9. Mother Of Abominations
  10. Dweller In The Abyss