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Nagelfar ‎– Hünengrab Im Herbst - Super Jewel Box -CD

€11.90

Despite winter being the common season whose imagery is brought up in black metal, autumn is a season that fits the genre as well. It's still got the bleak yet beautiful image that winter has, but autumn still has a sort of sorrowful warmness left in it as opposed to the absolute grim coldness of winter. There's definitely enough black metal bands out there that can bring this mood out; in fact, between Drudkh, Imperium Dekadenz, Gris, and Sombres Forêts, I say the idea has been thrown around enough times to no longer be considered ground breaking even if the bands don't necessarily make the songs about the season itself.

Bet let's go to an earlier example. Germany's Nagelfar released Hünengrab im Herbst in 1997; and despite being a piece of mainly fast-paced black metal, it's also remorseful sounding which goes well with the translated title "Dolmen (megalithic grave) in Autumn". It's a shame this album didn't get more attention at the time because I'm sure that Nagelfar would be held as big as the Norwegian bands if they were, and this album definitely deserves more attention than its getting for being so damn awesome.

I'll even go to this extreme: Hünengrab im Herbst is the best black metal album to come out of Germany; and despite it having the autumnal themes, it's worth listening to at all times of the year.

The band's two main guys and the two biggest stars on this album are the drummer Alexander von Meilenwald and the guitarist Zorn, and the clear production on this album allow both of these guys to properly show off their potential. Zorn lays down these melody laced riffs throughout the album while Alex's tight drum work forms a sturdy musical backbone for the rest of the instruments to build off of. The vocalist Jander does a phenomenal job as well both with his harsh shrieks and his clean baritone vocals.

There's no structure of verses and choruses in any of the songs. Though some sections of songs are played more than once, the band makes extensive use of bridges and breaks for transition. Since the songs on this album are rather long (two are 14+ minutes), this a good thing to have. All the songs are mainly fast-tempo but have well placed parts where the song suddenly slows. This method reaches it's peak on "Srontgorrth (Das dritte Kapitel)" with its fluid progression, the awesome bridge and breakdown that starts around the 4:25 mark, and the fast and furious finish.

The amount of epicness is consistent throughout the album. Between the melodic riffs, Jander's clean vox, and the controlled but excellent sounding use of the keyboards, Nagelfar have constructed a musical megalith of autumnal majesty and sorrow, from the weeping (and explosions?) in the intro that lead into "Seelenland"'s opening blast beats, to the final stretch of "Der Flug Des Raben" and everything in between. Even the interlude in the middle, the title track, is awesome and worth listening to. It features beautiful sounding piano with Jander's clean vocals which turn harsh on the second half and are joined by a muffled guitar and drums.

All black metal fans need to listen to Hünengrab im Herbst. It's easily one of the best of the genre. It's unfortunate that Zorn and Alex couldn't stick together longer to make more great albums. After this, there's another great album, then a much weaker one, then an unceremonious dissolution.