Nornír – Verdandi Review

We all know our types, and we all know our type metals. Just about everyone among you has those particular styles that you can’t resist as long as they’re done at a minimum of 70 percent competence. “Type Metal,” as our esteemed “colleague” Danhammer Obstkrieg calls it, is the foundation that keeps the walls of metal upright while the few trailblazers emerge from the countless scenes to make new sounds that may eventually become new types.

Release date: February 22, 2019. Label: Northern Silence Productions.
For many an iron clad metal fan, one particularly irresistible type is the corner of black metal that is a little icy, a tad windswept, and extremely melodic. Germany’s Nornír lives in this corner, and on full length debut Verdandi provides enough chilling riffs and memorable passages to do more than raise the eyebrows of genre die-hards. Most importantly, they understand that metal of this ilk ought to not just be deeply sorrowful or triumphant, but both at once.

As implied, Verdandi spends a fair amount of its riffage in frigid tremolo land – an approach that the production backs up – but the mid-tempo passages and hints of something organic (touches of folk instrumentation and clean singing) give the record a certain level of complexity. The massive “Yggdrasil og nornene,” for example, contains some supremely soaring tremolo passages (the 2-minute mark isn’t far off from imagining Dawn doing a Memoria Vetusta record) but also settles into some Drudkh-driving mid-tempo passages that are no less impactful.

Nornír’s ability to play obviously derivative music without losing such impact or natural dynamics is a testament not just to their already strong songcraft but their capabilities as a (gasp) full band. Drummer Farliath deserves particular credit for his ability to shift on a dime while also showing some real flair for style—ride cymbal dings in black metal are always a great choice, friends. Beyond that, the riffs are almost constantly engaging, even when they’re quite simple, and the vocals carry that great “more tortured than torturing” feel, all adding more fuel to the sorrow/triumph, death/rebirth duality of the mood.

And really, isn’t that why we listen to this stuff, riffs and mood? So any concern about a lack of originality is besides the point compared to feel, especially for this kind of music. When played well and truly from the heart, this type of black metal carries with it huge emotional weight. That quality won’t appeal to everyone, obviously, but for the type that loves this type, Nornír is absolutely going to elicit that response. Great debut.

Posted by Zach Duvall

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Obnoxious overuser of baseball metaphors.

  1. Great review, Zach. I knew exactly what this album sounded like without hearing a note just from reading it.

    Reply

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