Sunday, March 11, 2012
Nattfog - Mustan Auringon Riitti 
Alongside their fellow Finnish compatriots in Förgjord, Nattfog are another band that are producing cold black metal tunes from Finland, and after five years of releasing only a demo and a split, they’ve finally released their debut full-length, dubbed “Mustan Auringon Riitti” and released through Hammer of Hate. A two member band, they do differ from Förgjord (who have also just released a black metal album) mainly in that they have less variety and far more depressing songs, their cold tones and atmosphere just screaming of agony and pain. While the former introduce far more variety in their songs, Nattfog rely on and make use of heavy repetition and far more bleak, unforgiving and somber riffs, a less enclosed atmosphere and more frost-bitten tones.
As previously stated, Nattfog tend to lean on the more depressing side of black metal, producing such sorrow and grief that you can just feel the members’ pain through the instruments. The atmosphere is the main point in their music, and when all of the instruments mesh together to formulate the end result, this is when their music is at its peak, seen greatly in the agonizing “Reaching To The Stars.” Hell, seen on practically every song. Seldom, if ever, do they tremolo-pick abrasive and punishing riffs; rather, they play mostly slow passages that correlate with the harrowing vocals while suffering through the utterly poignant guitar tones. Akin to bands like Chasma (which I recently reviewed as well) and Burzum, they use repetition for effect and granted, this can get somewhat tiresome after a little while, but they do achieve in sneaking miserable riffs into the listener’s brain and leaving them there, lingering quietly like ghosts in a graveyard. There’s some melodies used occasionally, only used to produce a further onset and continuation of their ever-pervasive depressing and saddening style.
The occasional use of synthesizers is thrown in as well--of which I’m honestly not particularly fond of--which can be heard in “Kosmisen Usvan Ympäröimänä,” and that can be compared to the more ambient segments of “Filosofem” and other such albums. The vocals are augmented in quality by the--dare I say--relatively clean production to make them seem even more hopeless and raspy, reminiscent of the vocals in Watain yet more vile and gloomy. The drums lack greatly in variation, playing simple beats that follow along right at the guitars’ heals, hardly ever trying to stand out in any way. They’re just… there, but they do their job. The overall production is less harsh and raw than that of Förgjord’s, slightly cleaner and more polished, and it serves to get the band’s sad and melancholic message across.
Nattfog’s redundant use of repetition is the main focus in their music, yet at times it’s also their worst trait. Unfortunately some of the songs do get somewhat old after a while and the listener may find himself getting itchy at times, but if one gets passed this, they’ll certainly get hypnotized by the heartbreaking riffs that Nattfog put forth. A decent enough album, and worth the listen; highly recommended for those in need of a good ol’ punch in the stomach with a little musically emotional scarring, and not for anyone else. Also, skip the last track if you’re not into fully ambient songs, which, coincidentally, I’m not.