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Review for 'Nagelfar - Virus West'
Nagelfar's Virus West is one of Germany's most convincing Black Metal albums ever, but also one of the most overlooked, and in some cases underrated. It is an album so full of musical excellence that it's rather surprising that Virus West doesn't consistently rank among other Top 100 lists elsewhere around the globe. The only plausible explanation is that somehow the reviewers are either deaf or never actually got round to listening to the album in it's entirety, as anyone who has had the pleasure of letting their ears witness the earth-shattering riffs, sublime drumming, and what is by far one of the most outstanding vocal performances within the history of the genre would have no doubt remembered Virus West, and remembered it very fondly too.
While not being neither one of the most prolific nor one of the longest lasting German Black Metal bands, Nagelfar are without a doubt one of the most legendary Black Metal bands to come out of Northern Europe, and it is due entirely to the excellent music they have unleashed upon the scene since their creation in 1993 until they disbanded in 2002. Despite lasting for a whole decade, Nagelfar only ever released a total of three full length studio recordings, with Virus West being their third and final album. It is also in my opinion their best album, and indeed an all time classic that should form an integral part of any true Black Metal fan's collection.
Not only do Nagelfar present us with what is a relatively creative album, but they do so in such a manner that every song on Virus West is in itself highly creative and easily discernible from the rest, making their individual skills as musicians and overall skills as songwriters really shine through. With the exception of the first track "Hellebarn" which, after a brief intro, sets the tone by more or less dragging the listener straight down into the fury, every other song starts off slowly, steadily building up a harsh atmosphere and gradually getting faster and denser. Four of the album's seven tracks exceed the 10 minute mark, allowing Nagelfar to take their time to treat the listener to everything they have to offer.
It's pretty hard to choose stand out tracks on Virus West, as they are all very solid indeed, however the third track "Hetzjagd In Palästina" is particularly packed full of awesomeness, as is the album's closer "Meuterei" which begins with some wonderful acoustic guitar-work under the sound of rain, and also brings the album to an epic and climatic end with an amazing performance by all involved.
This is Nagelfar's only full length album to feature Zingultus on vocals, taking over from previous singer Jander. While Jander's performance on Nagelfar's previous two albums is fantastic, it's Zingultus' more shrieked approach on Virus West that really seals the deal, giving the album the final touch of intensity that makes it a unique and unforgettable experience.
What other albums sound similar to this?
While nothing really comes close to sounding quite like Virus West, let alone Nagelfar in general, some fellow German bands like Verdunkeln, Lunar Aurora, Geïst, Eïs, Magog and Helrunar do provide a similar sound, giving the same feel of epic and thrashy heaviness. Also, some of Immortal's later albums, such as At The Heart Of Winter, Damned In Black, Sons Of Northern Darkness and, to a lesser extent All Shall Fall, are at times reminiscent of the density and intensity present on Virus West.
In a nutshell...
Nagelfar's Virus West just shows what happens when some of the genre's finest musicians give it their best: a true masterpiece is born. The opening track is a perfect piece of Black Metal in it's own right, but the album just gets better and better with each song, with so many awesome riffs it's just impossible to take it all in with one listen, with a special mention to one of the greatest vocal performances ever made on a Black Metal album.
Site Admin - BestBlackMetalAlbums.com
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