Nargathrond – Killing Season
Release Date: 27/01/23
Running Time: 40:21
Review by Dark Juan
Hello, chums of all known ages, sexes and genders. It is I, your kindly custodian of all things extreme, Dark Juan, and I have finally found time to listen to some new music and share my ramblings with you after moving from Dark Juan Terrace to the somewhat cosier environs of Crow Cottage. To my right, there is yet another of the disturbing creations of Mrs Dark Juan, being a four-headed bird that is also some fly agaric mushrooms. Thankfully, Julie at The Blind Pig has already bought it and it will be gone from my presence very soon, because it is creepy as fuck and I want nothing to do with it. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Mrs Dark Juan finds it cute.
Yes, so here we are. I have the earphones on and I am listening to music after a bit of a break, which means you all get to read frothing madness and tortured metaphors all over again, you lucky things. Bear in mind I have been watching a lot of the Kenny Everett Show recently and Cupid Stunt was one of my favourite characters and this might or might not have an influence on the way this review might come across. It’s all done in the best POSSIBLE taste.
Today’s offering on the platter of splatter is a horror Metalwave release. You are all no doubt aware of Dark Juan’s rabidly enthusiastic embrace of the whole Synthwave genre, being as it melds 80’s Electronica and Metal themes together, not infrequently cut with some chewy Metal guitar work – see the likes of MASTER BOOT RECORD, The Algorithm, Carpenter Brut, Gunship, Epoch Of Chirality and Pertubator and then get back to me. However, today’s victim is Nargathrond, a one-man band from deep within the Thuringian forest in Germany (making him the perfect candidate for being the subject of ‘The Ancient Misanthropic Spirit Of The Forest’ by Lord Belial) who appears to enjoy the likes of Miami Vice-esque neon dripping nights, dismembering people with chainsaws and a bit of Black Metal into the bargain. This is most ably expressed on the title track of the album, ‘Killing Season’ featuring an acid-belching vocal from someone called Shepardo and a high velocity trip through some Black Metal with electronic overtones and being rather splendid for it as it represents a change from the more… Floaty Synthwave of the rest of the record. Also worthy of your note, dear reader, is the cover version of Nocturnal Depression’s ‘Nostalgia’ that rewrites the Depressive Black Metal “classic” for synth and guitar. Although Depressive Black Metal as a genre though. I fucking hate that name. If you want to top yourself in short order, go and listen to the current state of the pop charts for more than three minutes. It should take you less than that to end everything because it is shocking.
IMPORTANT: Dark Juan does not condone suicide whether you listen to Depressive Black Metal or not. Life is rarely bad enough to end it, despite the pain you may be suffering at the time, and there is plenty of help out there to enable you to rationalise and deal with the pain. My inboxes on Facebook and Instagram are always open for anyone who might need them. Only by obtaining help can you help yourself.
Let us drag ourselves back to the narrative. ‘Nostalgia’ is very reminiscent of MASTER BOOT RECORD, and we all know that that is indeed a Very Good Thing, because MASTER BOOT RECORD is one of Dark Juan’s favourite modern bands. The album ends with three tracks of instrumental versions of songs that have been previously played, and I have to say that I prefer the instrumental re-workings, but that’s just because I love instrumental records as vocals can sometimes get in the way of the groove. Especially the sepulchral ‘Killing Season’ which is considerably enhanced by NOT having anyone vomiting their own organs all over it.
I have to say that a prospective melting pot of Black Metal and Synthwave didn’t initially bring any particular frisson of excitement to this Hellpriest, despite them being two of my favourite styles of music, as it sounded like it would be a complete and total monkey’s breakfast of a sound. However upon experiencing it, one is a bit of a convert, because it welds the naturally dark tendencies of Synthwave with sheer Satanic fury. It creates a vision in the twisted grey matter that passes for my mind of a laid back Gothic serial killer cruising the night time strip in Miami in a big black 50’s Chevy Impala, smiling because there’s a victim in his boot he’s going to murder later by SLICES. Any music that can create images like that in my head has to be good. ‘Bloody Playground’ is a damned fine tune – mid-paced and swaggering, gorgeously apparelled, through a poorly-lit graveyard carrying a still dripping severed head as it greets passers-by with a blood-soaked smile from a gore-splattered face.
Also worthy of note is the VERY Gunship-sounding ‘Rivers Of Blood’ featuring The Runaway Wild. All expertly coiffed hair, oiled muscular torso, tight trousers and hammer-like, inexorable percussion, it makes merry with a chorus of such magnitude it blocks out the sun. ‘Deep In The Forest’ offers a surprisingly seductive trip into the trees with the soft vocal of Iyes Keen beckoning the unwary into the green. Where they will inevitably be torn apart limb from limb by the nasty clawed bastard waiting in there.
Production-wise the album is spot on. Everything can be clearly heard and there is little of the amateurishness that is normally evident on self-released one-man records and everything is smooth and has its place in the mix. The guitar is forward in the mix, but not excessively so and it forms a steel backbone to the thuds and squelches of the synths, which are surprisingly organic sounding for electronics, being as they are fluid and fuse easily with the guitar and percussion. It appears to be a little light on bass, but that could be because I am on backup earplugs because I haven’t found where I have put my headphones yet, so I am not going to instruct the Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System to deduct any marks for that this time.
All in all, this is an album of dreams for your faithful defender of the faith – Savage, primaeval Black Metal meets the retro-futurism of Synthwave in a rubbish-strewn back alley, and creates a claret-splattered psychotic lovechild of a sound that manages to hit several pleasure centres in the brain of Dark Juan at the same time and reduces him to a gibbering, almost orgasmic mess in short order.
We’re going to need more sex wee storage tanks at Crow Cottage, I feel.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is grinning maniacally and frightening passers-by when they look in the window, as it cogitates the score for Nargathrond. Eventually, after terrifying the child that has just come out of the library, it awards 9/10 for an album that delights and rewards the intrepid listener.
01. Midnight Haunt
02. Bloody Playground (featuring The Runaway Wild)
03. Rivers Of Blood (featuring Iyes Keen)
04. Deep In The Forest
05. In The Fog She Hides
06. With Her Pain She Kills
07. Kill Yourself Or Die Trying
08. Killing Season (featuring Shepardo)
09. Nostalgia (Nocturnal Depression cover)
10. Rivers Of Blood (Instrumental version)
11. Deep In The Forest (Instrumental version)
12. Killing Season (Instrumental version)
Nargathrond – Another one of those annoyingly talented bastards who do everything by themselves and make me look like a right Charlie, frankly.
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.