Naglfar Sheol

Violently powerful, as song titles like "Unleash Hell” and "Force of Pandemonium” would suggest, Sheol is as melodic as it is brutal. Only the third release from these Swedish black metal beasts in nearly a decade, Sheol continues Naglfar’s assault of mythology-infused metal. An unrelenting attack on the senses, the album whips, pounds and writhes from beginning to end. But for a few teasing notes from the keyboard here and there, Sheol focuses overwhelmingly on the guitars — thrashy riffs, death metal leads, black metal sludge, and other uses (and abuses) of the many-stringed weapon. Falling prey to the unfortunate rhythmic sameness that tends to plague black metal, the onslaught starts to lose effectiveness towards the album’s end, even though the songs themselves are just as fierce. Nevertheless, this one’s definitely not for the faint of heart. (Century Media)