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Envoy of Lucifer

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Album Review

Black metal has been a heavily Norwegian phenomenon, but heavily Norwegian is not the same as exclusively Norwegian, and Norway's neighbor Sweden has had its share of black metal bands just as Norway has had its share of death metal bands. Marduk, Dark Funeral, Lord Belial, Apostasy, Setherial, Naglfar, Funeral Mist, and Mörk Gryning have all been contributors to black metal, and all of those bands are Swedish. It should be noted that Sweden's interest in black metal isn't a brand new development; Sweden has been providing black metal bands for a long time, and one of Sweden's early black metal providers was Nifelheim. This combo has been together since 1990, offering an infectious "black & roll" sound that owes a lot to thrash metal/speed metal and punk — and that approach continues to serve them well on Envoy of Lucifer. Some headbangers who are not seasoned black metal listeners have found Nifelheim to be relatively accessible because of their strong sense of groove, which is very much in evidence on this 2007 recording. Envoy of Lucifer isn't just about heaviness or intensity; many of the tunes groove in an infectious way. This Occult-obsessed CD has the toughness and ruggedness of early black metal — Envoy of Lucifer is not symphonic black metal — but it also has a toe-tapping infectiousness that brings to mind Motörhead (who were arguably the first thrash metal/speed metal band) as well as old-school punk. And that is highly appropriate given that neither black metal nor death metal would have come about were it not for thrash/speed metal and old-school '70s/'80s punk. Envoy of Lucifer is not groundbreaking by 2007 standards, but it is a respectable demonstration of Nifelheim's ability to continue providing worthwhile "black & roll" after 17 years in the mosh pit.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

A black metal band that formed in Sweden in 1990, Nifelheim released a relatively small handful of albums in their career, and went through a number of lineup changes, but maintained enough of a following to keep the core of the band pressing on for nearly twenty years. Founders -- and twin brothers -- Per and Erik Gustavsson, who went by the names Hellbutcher (vocals) and Tyrant (bass), respectively, released their first album with longstanding partner in metal Demon in 1994. That particular self-titled...
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Envoy of Lucifer, Nifelheim
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