Following on from 2021’s fiery Fenrir EP, (of which Gnawing the Bones reappears here), Gnavhòl is a 55-minute expression of black metal darkness.
It’s hard not to like Nordjevel’s authentic take on cold Norwegian black metal. The band play their frosted music harsh and fast, and it’s a true slice of blackened fury, despite the hefty death metal muscle thrown in for brutally good measure. It’s a modern take on the classic style, and I like it very much.
Gnavhòl is a dark and vicious beast. The riffs cut as sharp as a envenomed scythe, and Nordjevel reap all of those around them with contemptuous ease. The band can clearly play, and the songs sometimes boast a technicality that’s rare in black metal. The death metal elements can be found in the guitars, lending a brutal set of riffs and meaty heaviness to the music, which it uses very well.
The bulk of the music is relentless in its murderous intensity. Within this Nordjevel do well to hold the listener’s attention via strong songwriting, an intimate knowledge of the style, a good grasp of blackened dynamics, and a knack for crafting malevolent atmosphere. Lethal melodies enhance the music further, enriching the band’s sonic assault with spears of furious colour. When the band do slow things down things get downright evil; some of the tar-black riffs are exquisitely menacing.
Very highly recommended.