Published Jan 20, 2016Allir vegir til glötunar ("All paths to oblivion") is the debut album from Naðra, featuring members of Misþyrming and numerous other bands in the Icelandic metal scene. Comprising five songs, in five different keys, it feels like a journey to the remotest fringes of Ginnungagap. Serpentine melodies soaked in venomous distortion paralyze and gratify the ears from the first musical pounce, and such bestial vigour is sustained until the last cut. Black metal enthusiasts will find much to love in this album, whether one's taste leans towards the arboreal-atrics of Bergtatt, the epic deluge of Weakling or the technicality of Krallice.
The prominent lead guitar is instantly noticeable on opening track "Fjallið," an omen for the zealous inflections and solos that will follow throughout the album. The vocals are truly maniacal, even overshadowing the remarkable musicianship at times with their sheer energy. "Falið" slows down the pacing for a time, as if to evoke a harrowing pilgrimage across a tundra, before it breaks down again into a windstorm of shrieks and riffage, the transitions from fast to slower measures accomplished effortlessly, without blemish or hiccup.
Debate about an album highlight is pointless; each song on here is superb in its own right, but Allir vegir til glötunar is a monolith, a wonderfully staggering work that is all the more impressive for being a debut. (Vánagandr)