SETHERIAL - Lords Of The Nightrealm LP (Transparent Yellow Vinyl)
There was a time when Setherial was at the top of the food chain in the black metal genre. Setherial's first album, Nord, is still fondly regarded by many as one of the best black metal albums out there. Unfortunately, Setherial's later releases started to spiral down into an awful, generic mess, reaching its worst with Death Triumphant. But before Setherial started their descent into mediocrity, they released a masterpiece titled Lords of the Nightrealm, their sophomore album and followup to the still one of a kind
There is not a single lackluster song in Lords of the Nightrealm but some songs do stand out more than others. Satan's Realm starts the album off with a sinister throaty scream and dark riffs that surround the atmosphere with evil. One cannot help but feel vicious when listening to it. Summon the Lord with Horns and Diabolus Enum are other favorites of mine here, too. Many good albums from other bands have at least one or two songs that are skippable and not worth listening to, but Lords of the Nightrealm does not have that downfall.
In my opinion, the highlight of the album is the vocal ability of Kraath. It is a shame that he did not continue his position as vocalist in future albums because it is where his strength lies. They are throaty and deep enough to sound evil while not sounding like something from a goregrind band, but are not high enough to be considered cringe-worthy like Wrath's vocals for Setherial's Hell Eternal. Kraath also has some very impressive bass guitar skills. The fast-paced picking of the bass goes well with Moloch's pounding of the drums and creates a sinister atmosphere with the shredding of Mysteriis and Choronzon on the guitars. The sound production also helps create the dark and evil atmosphere so welcome in an album like this. It is grimy and raw, not clean and crisp with high production values. This really adds to the darkness of the environment. One can easily imagine the most evil and demented things possible while listening to this album.
In summation, Lords of the Nightrealm is a stupendous black metal album from the glory days of Setherial. For those who need proof that Setherial was not always just a generic black metal band in the ranks of so many other uninspired wrecks, then give this album a listen. It should be in the collection of any fan of the black metal genre.