If you’ve read a few of what I call my “quarterly reviews” here at AMG, you’ll probably know that I have a long history not just with the underground but with the man AMG Himself. He used to write for my webzine, Unchain the Underground, which is so old it was powered by waterwheel. I kid myself not in thinking it’s because I’m a crackshot writer that the powers here allow me to contribute so infrequently while my compatriots like Grymm churn out grade A reviews like a mechanical meat separating machine. It’s because I have tenure1 and, as AMG penned the email subject when he first wrote me after joining staph, “Now the Student Becomes the Master.” Occasionally a promo in the list sparks some crusty old memory of an album I reviewed either during the actual physical run of UtU from 1988-92 or the virtual one from ’95 to the early 2000s. Nargaroth rang no bells on that front though I did marginally enjoy 2001’s Black Metal ist Krieg (A Dedication Monument). For shits and gigs I went back to the trusty old Internet Archive to discover I had favorably reviewed both 2003’s Geliebte des Regens and the following year’s Prosatanica Shooting Angels. Consistently prolific and occasionally controversial, Ash (aka “The Artist Formerly Known As Kanwulf”) is generally considered one of the forefathers of the second wave of black metal and had always been a staunch proponent of tradition and those three albums were no exception.

I haven’t kept up with the crypt full of subsequent releases, so in my due diligence I dug through every full length to trace his path and see if Ash maintained his “Fuck Off Nowadays Black Metal” stance because Era of Threnody is very much not what I expected. 2009’s concept album Jahreszeiten was the first to show some more dynamic elements but nothing nearly on the level of where he is now. 2011’s collaboration with Nychts, the Burzum-esque Spectral Visions of Mental Warfare, likewise branched out into some electronic territories and was much more dynamic, but this beast? For starters, unless an uber-dork Tolkien-inspired act comes along, or someone finally tricks her into doing a snuff film, the opening sound quote on Era of Threnody is likely the first and only time Liv Tyler dialog will ever be used on a black metal album. This one isn’t even LotR related – it is from the 2014 black comedy Space Station 76. An odd first step for an album with many.

The clean guitar that opens “Dawn of Epiphany” sets a funereal atmosphere, then a flamenco-style lead carves a beautiful melody out like a maniac’s knife work at a masterfully gruesome murder scene. Distorted guitars crash in and crack fucking heads like a juicer with ‘roid rage, but still maintain the longing ache. “…As Orphans Drifting In A Desert” begins with a similarly haunting clean guitar passage before the dam cracks open and blasting riffs and beats come pouring forth like waves of a corpse-laden tsunami. Two and a half minutes in, the waters abate and fall back to reveal the glorious carnage with perhaps the prettiest moment I’ve ever heard on a metal release this extreme. Again, moments later the proceedings are infected with rage and fury while maintaining the overall theme. This jarring juxtaposition [5 jux-demerits for House Kikuras.Steel Druhm] is employed throughout most of the material herein to great effect, as is the regular surprising incorporation of flamenco influences.

As much as it is refreshing to hear such sophistication and the dichotomy between the bestial and beautiful, at over an hour and with most songs well over five, and up to almost 10 minutes, it’s also a daunting listen. When focusing on the music there is always something interesting to the ear, yet the formula is such that if you aren’t giving your full attention, after a few songs, it bleeds together. The seventh song in, “Love Is A Dog From Hell” is the most Neanderthal, with a swaggering black ‘n roll chug. It comes along at just the right time to introduce some much needed pugilism, though also has one of the most surprising elements – what sounds like actual slap bass during the chorus. The shortest song by several threads at just shy of three minutes, it’s a welcome respite from the waters we’ve been toiling in for the previous 40 or so. The anthemic “TXFO” also smacks most closely to the Nagaroth of yore. These two sandwich perhaps the most ambitious outing herein, the sprawling nine minute title track, replete with varied tempos, ambitious bass runs, and clean vocals. The production matches the material in density and atmosphere as well as the bleak “recorded in a garbage can” sound fit the bashing barbarism of Prosatanica Shooting Angels.

Era of Threnody ushers in a new Nargaroth. By far Ash’s most challenging yet accessible listen to the point that my seven year old son, sitting on the floor playing with Legos, said “What music is this? I like this!” until the vocals came in. He then asked, “Can you go back to an instrumental part?” Still not for the layperson, yet easier on the ear than the intentionally harsh, Era of Threnody is still Nargaroth but a new forging that easily outdoes everything under the banner preceding.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Inter Arma Productions
Websites: nargaroth.de | facebook.com/officialnargaroth
Releases Worldwide: May 16th, 2017

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  1. Don’t get cocky. – Steel Justice
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  • John Mosley

    Sounds peachy.

  • Reese Burns

    This? I like this. This is good.

  • Thatguy

    Serious album art, serious band photo, serious review and seriously good music. Thanks, Al.

    • Hulksteraus

      Yep, music and photo screams don’t [email protected]%k with us. So, recalibrated the Band Photometer with some beer then.

      • Thatguy

        Beer works for most of life’s problems.

    • I can’t take this album cover seriously. When someone takes a famous work of art (or a photo of it) and alters it by adding some effects in photoshop… it always looks “wrong” to me, kinda like a parody.

  • Eli Valcik


  • All I could think of when I first heard the vocals was “Quiet Lisa, the dog is barking.”

    I found the vocals to be really monotone. That was my initial impression anyway. Music sounds pretty solid.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Ah, Homer. Where doeth thou goeth that thy thine sage words doeth not travel with thee and poureth forth thine wisdom?


  • herrschobel

    ahhhhh….these guys play NSBM shows…massive dislike

    • If that’s the case, we obviously don’t support it.

      • herrschobel

        i thought that´s already known about Nargaroth .. Kanwolf is the man who wrote inside one of his releases “„German hateful and misanthropic Black Metal, made from [sic] White man for White man.“ … on the other hand some people like their BM leaning to the right .. gives it more oomph and makes the whole ridiculous Charade a lot more edgy… i fight notions like that whenever i can !

        • I personally have no history or awareness of this band, but I will say AMG and its staff do not support NSBM beliefs. That said, racism isn’t limited to far right groups. Far left have the same history.

          • herrschobel

            absolutely ! but in this case they don´t play the Antifa prom …anyhow, they might be chastened right now but the guy behind the Band has a long history of verbal missteps leaning in a very specific direction …

        • Drew Music

          I, blessed as I am with the antiwisdom of those who live under rocks, had no idea what NSBM was until this post. The discovery was only made worse upon glancing through a brief wiki listing of NSBM bands (albeit one of shaky legitimacy) and saw Satanic Warmaster and Drudkh listed as well. Always kind of a kick in the pants when you discover that your heroes are assholes.

          • herrschobel

            soooooorry …. the more you know the less fun you have..someone once said to me .. might be true to a certain degree

          • Drew Music

            Eh, I’d still rather learn of this nonsense here than be wandering about playing anything affiliated with such idiocy only to be called out and proven ignorant in person. Ultimately, people just suck.

          • Sean Sky

            “Drudkh have been particularly secretive throughout the course of their career, even for a black metal band, giving no interviews and not releasing the lyrics to several of their albums. They have also disavowed political interpretations of their music specifically and “extreme political views” more generally, therefore declaring themselves a non-political band.”

            From the Drudkh wikipedia page FYI.

          • herrschobel

            i wouldn´t expect any of these Bands in question to state: hey we are white supremacists and everyone should know !!! only Varg Vikernes does that ;-) … there is only very few Bands that really have the Balls for that..or the lack of brain … at they End its´always…hey we are ‘non political’ !!! the fan boys say: “the may have Nazis (or people with strong ideas about race, the nation and so on) in the Band but the Band itself is apolitical”…wtf ? that´s not a ‘Haltung’ as we say in Germany…that is just cowards who want to cash in on both sides of the fence imo.

          • Sean Sky

            Plenty of people throw their strong political and social beliefs out into the public view via Twitter and other social media. It’s pretty common for celebrity type people to put it out there these days. I guess the difference is that currently it’s more socially acceptable to hate white people publicly lol. But yeah Varg is a maniac.

          • herrschobel

            let´s hate everyone !

          • Sean Sky

            I’m all for equal opportunity hate. Like the prophet Corey Taylor once said: “People=Shit”.

          • herrschobel

            i am pretty good actually :-)

          • Sean Sky

            Can’t pass up an opportunity to make Slipknot jokes, sorry.

          • Misanthropic supremacy?

          • Drew Music

            I saw that, too, hence the reference to the wiki list as being of shaky legitimacy.

  • Wes Allen

    Seems like a few of the 2nd wave progenitors are branching out these days. Good stuff, and good review, too.

  • I don’t support NSBM either. That said, there is a hypocrisy among a lot of extreme music fans that have issue with one group being attacked and not another. A band like Deicide or countless black metal bands condone and suggest not just hatred but violence against Christians and have gone so far as to commit arson and in some cases murder yet they are still considered icons. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like any organized religion, but it is something to think about.

    • The Nazis did a lot of harm and inflicted a lot of pain during their reign, but Christianity, that Middle-Eastern scourge, has occupied Western civilization for close to 2000 years. I fail to see the resemblance.

      • I guess the main difference now is if someone is walking around saying he or she is a Nazi, you know that person is an asshole. I know plenty of Christians, family included, that are actually good people. I don’t want Deicide to kill my aunt!

        • Haha :) Don’t mind me, I’m justbeing querulous. I know a few christians myself, but only a few, and despite spending hours attempting to influence them with rationality, I’ve gotten nowhere.

          Still, it’s important to remember that the deeds done in the name of black (and death) metal was done by teenagers and restless younglings in their twenties, opposing conformity and getting caught in a spiral. Only a single murder (of an outsiders) was ever committed, and that was a gay dude, not a christian.

          You haven’t told Glen Benton where your aunt (or gay second cousin) lives, I assume?

          • Not yet. Got to see if she comes through big enough on my birthday this year.

    • herrschobel

      Glen Benton is an idiot par excellence … not an Icon in my book :-) .. it´s also why i find BM problematic most of the time … very often it´s just ridiculous..esp. the whole anti christianity thing… i mean in the 21st century christianity is the least of our problems…

  • Good link! He is generally considered to be though, perhaps because of the shenanigans. I was aware of it, though, which is why I wrote, “Consistently prolific and occasionally controversial.” Kind of reminds me of all the hooplah around Nachtmystium as well. What’s with these guys??

    • Frankenrin

      That’s why I was voicing my concern – if he’s really being considered one of the progenitors of the second wave (which, I understand, is all the Norse bands we know and a few outsiders), that’s just off by quite a few years and gives him a degree of influence and importance that just isn’t there.
      His liner notes are an interesting read to and almost Trumpist in their wishful infantility. He WANTS to be the guy who’s met Varg in Helvete. He WANTS to be the guy who kills a guy at a gig and flees the scene clung to the bottom of a car, and he just writes that stuff as if it were true.
      It’s funny that in bestowing the utmost importance to trueness, it’s the most wannabe and fake thing ever. It’s even more funny that in spite of all of that, he’s still managed to write a few genuinely good songs.

      • Many thanks! It is this interaction with the readers that makes this site as great as it is. What you folks say is as, if not more, important than the reviewers!