Nifelheim – Envoy of Lucifer (Regain Records)

Thursday, 14th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Seven years since their last album (2000’s Servants of Darkness), Sweden’s Nifelheim return with Envoy of Lucifer. One would think such a delay in releases would spark some unbridled creativity, but Envoy of Lucifer is one of those staid, predictable death/black metal albums that just blow by without leaving much of an impression.

The bands turbo-charged blend of blackened death metal or deathened black metal (ugh) runs the gamut from fast to scathingly fast, all the while bogged down by a very thin and trebly production job. If this were 1998, Envoy of Lucifer would most likely be considered modern, but in the sleek and precise world of extreme metal circa 2008, Envoy of Lucifer doesn’t stack up too well against its competition.

As for the tunes, there are some noteworthy cuts, namely “Evocation of the End,” an all-out war-mongering tune that features some cool chord structures. Melodies abound in “Gates of Damnation” and some surprising straightforward ‘rock’ drumming in “Storm of the Reaper,” but that about covers it – Envoy of Lucifer never catches on.

There was a time when these guys were considered something of a black metal upstart, but black metal has changed quite a bit since 2000 and frankly, Nifelheim’s decidedly stubborn BM approach does them more harm then good. I dunno, this one just belongs in the pile with the rest of ‘em, with not a tune registering…

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