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Nattfog - "Mustan Auringon Riitti" (CD)

Nattfog - "Mustan Auringon Riitti" CD cover image

"Mustan Auringon Riitti" track listing:

1. Blinding Fog
2. Path of the White Wolves
3. Reaching to the Stars
4. Mieleni Mustissa Merissä
5. Kosmisen Usvan Ympäröimänä
6. Mustan Auringon Riitti
7. Kaksitoista Askelta Luvattuun Valtakuntaan

Reviewed by on February 12, 2012

"Medieval rhythms and instruments are a suitable vehicle for convening with gods of the natural realm."

Nattfog’s debut full-length, “Mustan Auringon Riitti” (English translation—The Rite of the Black Sun), pays homage to their Wotan-worshipping ancestors. The two songs containing English lyrics (the rest are in Finnish), “Path of the White Wolves” and “Reaching to the Stars,” are steeped in Germanic tribal mythology. Nattfog relates an overwhelming sense of pride in their lineage, which certainly equates to a National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) identity. Because of its racist ideology, the NSBM tag results in problems. However, Nattfog’s lyrics are in no way offensive and the music is a must for any fan of pagan black metal.

Nattfog emerged from a strong underground scene in Finland, which includes Barathrum, Beherit, Thy Serpent, Horna, and Impaled Nazarene. “Mustan Auringon Riitti,” however, does not adhere to a style made famous by Finnish black metal groups. While NSBM is a term applied to a lyrical affiliation, the leaders of this “movement” have definite musical identities. Nattfog reflects aspects of Nokturnal Mortem, Graveland and Burzum. Their raw production creates sub-zero, wind-swept soundscapes. Medieval rhythms and instruments are a suitable vehicle for convening with gods of the natural realm.

Besides the beginning track (“Blinding Fog”) and ending track (“Kaksitoista Askelta Luvattuun Valtakuntaan”), Nattfog seldom incorporates old-world-instrument instrumentals. Unlike many of their pagan metal contemporaries, Nattfog sticks with a metallic formula. The mighty drums, guitar and cymbals of “Blinding Fog” invoke pride and courage, but the blizzard-like thickness of the guitars that comprise the following tracks will leave one blinded and longing for the sun. Echoing shrieks combine with a mid-to-slow repetition of notes to create a murky production. The group keeps their drums slow and simple, making sure not to break with the trance-inducing ambience.

“Mustan Auringon Riitti” is not an album for listeners who need to hear every note. The snow-blinding production and organic drum sound is a deal maker or breaker. Because “Mustan Auringon Riitti” has so much in common with Burzum, one should complete his/her Burzum collection before picking up a copy of this album.

Highs: Old instruments, fuzzy guitars and distant production.

Lows: Nattfog borrows a bit too heavily from Burzum.

Bottom line: A good black metal album, but the band needs a greater sense of identity.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)