29th December 2017 – Avantgarde Music
01. Andægtigt Dødsfald
02. Lovsang Til Mørket
04. Fra Hæld Til Intet
08. Støv For Vinden
There are many black metal practitioners who aren’t concerned with any kind of normal release schedule, but few that wait a decade between releases. Seemingly out of nowhere we’ve been graced with a new Nortt record; a bleak and foreboding offering to mark December’s plummeting temperatures.
Endeligt‘s sound is lugubrious and malignant. The record growls and hisses, dragging the audience through an ambient mire. There’s a fondness for long expanses of rumbling terror; it’s downright unfriendly, but also captivating and cinematic. There are lots of bands trying stuff like this, but Nortt’s take is especially bleak and impenetrable.
Less destructive than previous offering Galgenfrist, Endeligt feels more understated and minimalist. That’s not to say this is a lighter passage; the music is still imperious and foreboding, just a little less sonically devastating. The funeral doom elements of his sound are more pronounced this time around; previously they’d been buried under the destructive black metal. Honestly, I miss the bombast of previous releases; Norrt’s take on black metal was never busy but it was dramatic, which provided an excellent foil to the longer, more indulgent sections. Losing these powerful elements saps a little of his impact, particularly when largely speaking the record is trying to achieve the same commanding, sinister aims as previous outings.
Straying from a path that was working from them is a significant risk, but not without its rewards. Minimalism suits Nortt well; making these textures more of a focus still presents a rich, sonically varied record, just one that’s a little less immediate and vital. It also accentuates the intimate, hypnotic qualities of the record: melody unfolds at a glacial pace, always on the edge of being present enough to act as a hook.
There’s a lot that works, and generally the record comes across as a little more mature and refined than earlier offerings. Where it does bare its fangs it may not bite as hard as before but the toxic atmospheres are quite a bit more baleful than before; Nortt’s output has always been unsettling without falling foul of black metal excess, and Endeligt is testament to his maturity.
A risky move from Nortt, who never did play by the rules; it’d be surprising if he didn’t change up his sound a decade on, after all. Endeligt seeps with malice, his coldest, most melancholic release to date.