Nidingr is a band that does things the way they want, when and how they want. Originally surfacing back in 1992 and releasing their demo in ‘99, they waited till 2005 to release their first full length “Sorrow Infinite and Darkness”. Five years later they release their second album “Wolf-Eater” then only two years later they decide to put out another record called “Greatest of Deceivers”. So now, here we are, at the end of 2016 with the release of their latest record, “The High Heat Licks Against Heaven”. I can really appreciate a band that moves at their own pace and does things their way, rather than just continually pumping out records every few years like clockwork. The album is heavily focused on Norse mythology, which I personally am very interested in anyway. So having relatable material on top of badass music is always a nice cherry on top.
Something that I dig is the lack of hesitation in starting the album. There’s no long, evil intro like they could justifiably do, or even a clever sound clip from a movie like so many bands are fond of doing. Nidingr says fuck you, we’re here to do a job and that job is play some raw, evil black metal. “Hangagud” is short, sweet, and badass. The groove that kicks in at the end is absolutely neck breaking. “The Ballad of Hamther” is as classic black metal sound as you can get. It goes from slow and groovy guitars over fast double kick drums to double timed riffs to really drive the track deep into your skull, and then back to the slow grooves again. It ends on an interesting spoken word piece, adding a softer touch that only makes the transition to “On Dead Body Shore” pop that much more, making it much crisper and cold cut.
“Gleipnir” starts off really slow, soft, and doomy, which is absolutely enchanting after the relentless onslaught of tracks we’d just sat through. You can really see the band’s dynamic range with this track as they hit the softer side of things for a full five minutes. Things go straight back to full bore with “Sol Taker” without any hesitation. It’s moments like this that I feel like deserve a smoother transition now that we’re deeper into the album. “Heimdalargaldr” is probably the heaviest track on the album, even with the break in the middle. It has the most death metal type elements in it by far and is the catchiest tune for me anyway.
The bottom line here is, ‘The High Heat That Licks Against Heaven’ is a solid record, but doesn’t really stand out to me as something amazingly memorable. The riffs are solid, but recycled, the overall tempo is a little too mellow for my liking and it gets a little droll. I liked the theme and lyrical content, and the tracks themselves aren’t bad at all, it’s just not an album I can put on repeat for too long. It starts off strong, but then seems to put itself on repeat with a few small variables thrown in for a little zest just to distract you. There are some really sweet grooves in there that make the album totally worth listening too, so do it for the sake of the groove and decide for yourself.