Hammer of Hate strikes again with a strong Finnish black metal debut by Nattfog. Maybe it’s my personal bias toward Finnish black metal, but I somehow knew that I’d like this one before even giving it a listen and yet it still impaled with its melodic Nordic warrior spirit and raw but refined black metal approach. Hammer of Hate compares the Nattfog sound to that of Horna, Sargeist, Goatmoon, and Satanic Warmaster and they are totally on the spot in doing so, but there’s also a bit of the supernatural and pagan atmospheric elements as done by Forteresse and Neige et Noirceur. When I heard “Path of the White Wolves”, I was instantly caught up in the marching rhythm of the drums and completely drowned in the tide of melodic buzzing guitar chords that create this addictive and dense mist. There’s some pagan undertones, but overall Nattfog present a fresh and much needed approach to melodic and lo-fi black metal without losing its abrasiveness and skeletal form.
“Reaching to the Stars” reminds me of the hazy and psychedelic atmospheres of Nachtmystium and Twlight, partially due to the catchy and memorable melodic riffs, but a lot of it is that black psychedelic fog that comes out in the mixing that really pushes the sound toward surreal and unique. The vocals are behind the mix, one of my favorite features in black metal, but what really gets my adrenaline rushing here is the constant throbbing momentum and how every instrument sounds as though it’s inside the mix, sort of muffled and distorted but still so clear and distinct.
There’s also that shrieking and shredding feel to the vocals as they lash out from behind everything else going on, and really stands out on “Mieleni Mustissa Merissa”. Sometimes I can even draw comparisons to a more aggressive Summoning, that’s how dense, majestic, dark, and cryptic the Nattfog sound can get. Aside from completely nailing their debut it’s not a far reach to say that Nattfog have the potential to be one of the next strong cult bands to remain submerged but highly sought after by those who keep their ears low to the ground.