Nattehimmel – Mourningstar (Review)

Nattehimmel - MourningstarNattehimmel are an international, (Norway/UK), black metal band and this is their debut album.

Featuring current and ex-members of Emancer, Ewigkeit, Green Carnation, In the Woods…, Old Forest, and The Meads of Asphodel, Mourningstar is a 45-minute journey into 90s black metal that’s nostalgic, yet still relevant, and has a few detours too.

As if the band’s pedigree wasn’t enough to whet the interest, the promo blurb states that Mourningstar is for fans of bands like In the Woods…, Arcturus, Ulver, Primordial, Borknagar, and Bathory. It’s enough to get someone quite excited, I tell you. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint,

Nattehimmel have the experience and knowledge of how to produce black metal, and Mourningstar is a showcase of their skills. It captures the spirit of the late 90s scene, when the classic black metal acts were starting to branch further from the initial frosted template, while still keeping a firm base of the iconic style. Nattehimmel start from that time’s perspective, and then weave in some elements that have been picked up from a variety of places over the next few decades.

I like that the band include expressive guitar solos, and the use of keyboards and clean vocals can send shivers down my spine. The avant-garde aspect of the music is vividly crafted, yet doesn’t go overboard and dilute the essential blackened nature of the songs. Progressive and folk influences are felt in places, enhancing what they touch. A helping of epic doom metal can be heard too; the promo blurb refers to Isole, and I can definitely see that. It’s a great addition to the style, and the commanding clean vocals are powerful enough to pull this off very capably.

The songs are well-written and definitely show the band’s talents off in most agreeable ways. This is music that combines atmosphere and mood with catchy hooks and memorable passages. It’s an old-school approach to songcraft that shows off its quality easily. Nattehimmel take the listener on a journey through the night skies like it was 1999 once more.

Rich in melody and atmospheric potency, I very much enjoy what Mourningstar has to offer. It’s honestly like being transported back several decades, while still having more than enough presence and character to have a place in the present day. Mourningstar is just very enjoyable.

If the above appeals to your tastes, then I can’t recommend this enough.


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