Naglfar’s Cerecloth: slumbering black metal giants awaken

Melodic black metal mythologists Naglfar return from eight-year Odin Sleep to wreak death and destruction on new album Cerecloth

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While this melodic black metal trio are named after the infamous (and also just slightly gross) boat made entirely from the fingernails and toenails of the dead that features in Norse mythology, nowadays they have more in common with the Allfather, as Naglfar have enjoyed an Odin Sleep for the last eight years, at least as far as making records is concerned. Cerecloth sees these slumbering giants of the subgenre return to action with a roar, though, and they rarely pause for breath over nine tracks.

Recorded at guitarist Marcus Norman’s Wolf’s Lair Studio, Naglfar’s seventh opus is a ferocious beast that goes straight for the jugular. Marcus’s partner in axe-wielding, Andreas Nilsson, economically describes the central theme of the album – presumably with a side order of tongue in his cheek – as “the usual death and destruction” and on the whole, Cerecloth will certainly satisfy the hunger of many of their long-starved fans.

The opening title track is a savage scene-setter full of rapier riffs and powerful, precise percussion. The diabolically good Horns continues the high standards and is infused with some NWOBHM-esque flourishes, while Like Poison For The Soul serves as a welcome reminder of just how venomous the Swedes can be. Featuring more knock-out hooks than Tyson Fury’s highlight reel, the melodic and menacing track will be nothing short of monstrous live.

Cerecloth sags a little in the middle, though. Cry Of The Serafim is a plodding, patience-testing misstep and the unremarkable The Dagger In Creation isn’t much better, lacking the sharpness of some of the other cuts. The final two efforts, Necronaut and Last Breath Of Yggdrasil, ends their comeback on a huge high, however. The former features a fantastic, Judas Priest-like lead riff that’s spiced with a welcome dose of doom, while the latter is a chant-, keyboard- and drone-spiced slab of epic black metal that proves the Swedes have barely missed a (blast)beat despite the lengthy gap between albums.

Naglfar’s Cerecloth is released on May 8