DJEVEL: Naa Skrider Natten Sort
Release year: 2022
Label: Aftermath Music
We’ve reviewed Norwegian Djevel’s two previous albums (here and here), and have come to consider the band as something of a single-entity latter-day resurgence of the classic norsecore sound and style. Not surprising, perhaps, considering the band features as its drummer Faust, one of the notorious icons of the original wave of Norwegian black metal.
Continuing with their steady pace of an album every other year or so, Naa Skrider Natten Sort is the group’s 8th studio album. Like the previous two we’ve reviewed, it stays true to the core tenets of classic Norwegian black metal but, in comparison to its predecessors, sees some genuine evolution in Djevel’s sound.
In retrospect, 2019’s Ormer Til Armer, Maane Til Hode was a bit of a Gorgoroth-type album. Last year’s Tanker Som Rir Natten took a step in a far more atmospheric, nuanced direction. The new album continues not only with the nocturnal themes of the previous album, but also sees Djevel solidify their more atmospheric sound.
In some ways, where above I referenced Gorgoroth, Naa Skrider Natten Sort is the band’s Ulver-type album. Bergtatt, to be more precise. No, it’s not a carbon copy or imitation, but some of the atmospheric elements remind me Ulver’s pioneering take on nature-romantic, atmospheric black metal. Well-used clean vocals and chorals, acoustic interludes, a definite down-shifting in tempos (don’t worry: they still blast, too), and an increased focus on atmosphere instead of brutality all work to strengthen these associations.
And, you’ll be happy to hear, Djevel make it work. Like on the previous album, some of the tracks are quite lengthy indeed – opener Naar Taaken Tetner clocks in at over 13 minutes! – but they feel a bit more focused this time around; more honed, less meandering. This results in album that is a genuine improvement on Tanker Som Rir Natten.
The strength of the songwriting and Djevel’s vision are impressive: the band manage to evolve their sound whilst still sounding like themselves. Admittedly, “sounding like themselves” means they sound like a band whose deepest essence consists of riffing on the classic norsecore sound, but that notwithstanding, throughout the years Djevel have crafted a strong musical identity for themselves. And they manage to admirably expand on it, instead of getting stuck in a rut like so many do – or attempt a complete paradigm shift, like so many others do, and usually fail miserably.
Naa Skrider Natten Sort continues to place Djevel at the forefront of contemporary Norwegian black metal. Based on a very classic sound and style, Djevel will feel instantly familiar to most people into black metal, but manage to avoid being just nostalgia. No, Naa Skrider Natten Sort proves that you can take a bag of old tricks and do something relevant, something potent and powerful with it. Something that doesn’t sound like reheated yesterday’s stew.