Former In the Woods… members deliver epic Norwegian Black Metal to takes you into the night sky!
It’s the moment just after the tree-root thick tangle of guitars come in and the luminous clean vocals light up the sky while the keyboards suddenly shine from below: when the singing enters on ‘Astrologer’, the first track of Nattehimmel’s first album “Mourningstar”, that one might actually hear a continuation from In The Woods…’s legendary “Omnio” album from 1997. None of the 5 members are strangers to one another, having met before in bands such as In The Woods… and Strange New Dawn. We guarantee that the members regard “Omnio” pretty highly.
Enough to revere it though? The similarity is not likely to be incidental, and anyway proves fleeting in the context of the 8 songs on “Mournigstar”, this new union turning out very creative in shaping their Black Metal with a variety of elements. Primarily, the vocals set Nattehimmel apart from many other acts of this nature by including a variety of tropes from harsh growls to monkish groans to undead rasps, plus other backing parts that overlay the slightly echoey production with a ton of resonance. These come from James Fogarty, who, along with the Botteri brothers, could be thought to bring a slight doom influence to otherwise identifiable next wave Black Metal, as comes out in the crashing low-paced riff kicking off ‘Mountain of the Northern Kings’ sort of like Isole or other epically touched acts. Nattehimmel prove unafraid to lay off the heaviness on that song too, letting the keyboards change to electronic sounds in the introduction and a repeated interlude that doesn’t shift the goalposts as far as you’d think. Furthermore, touches like the expressive solo in ‘Astrologer’ divorce “Mourningstar” from regular Black Metal assumptions, and one might expect little else from the diverse CVs of this group.
With members of such experience, Nattehimmel would have to be silly to mess things up, yet one does not expect to be so impressed by the concoction boiling in this Norwegian cauldron. Despite the very pretty nature of some melodic guitar and the lush keys that serve multiple purposes, the riffs lift every song to stateliness despite not having many apiece, while the vocal styles have been judged well enough to smother this cake with icing. Forget the surrogate for now, because Nattehimmel is about to give us something really special.