Friday, December 19, 2008

Natan - Het Zicht van de Dood (2008)

The first full-length from Belgians Natan alternates between driving melodic pagan black metal and tastefully implemented folk segments. The result is a pleasure to listen to, for the band never gets cheesy with in this style. This is entirely a somber and carefully composed affair.

The meat of the album is composed of epic tales of sadness and dark legend: "Grauwbaard's Lied", "Eenzaam", "De Hoge" and "Ondergang" are all tracks of depth and a wondrous atmosphere conjured by the subtle and effective use of keyboards that never veer into the path of the guitar melodies and vocal snarls, but choose to simply compliment them. There are also the sheer folk tracks like the excellent "Mijn Lot" with its acoustic guitars and violins, or the intro to "Velden Van Bloed" with some female vocals (and these are honestly not that good, thankfully they do not appear often throughout the album).

The production is quite good here, you can clearly make out all the instrumentation and the entire work flows together from beginning to end wonderfully. As far as the quality of the black metal riffs, they are all functional but do not individually stand out much...there are no points at which I'd exclaim that I want to go back and listen to a particular track, this is the type of album I must sit through in its entirety to truly enjoy. I would certainly recommend this to fans of the more serious folk-tinged metal, for there is nothing silly about what Natan does, it is pure expression.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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