First of all I have to start with saying that The High Heat Licks Against Heaven has to be one of the most beautiful album covers I’ve laid my eyes on. That in itself made Nidingr capture me and want me to listen to the album. So who are Nidingr? Nidingr started off as a solo project in 1992, then named Audr (old Norse Auðr: meaning ‘desolate, empty’), by Teloch (Mayhem). He was eventually joined by Blargh (ex-Dødheimsgard) in 1996 and they changed their name to Nidingr (old Norse: Níðingr, an insult meaning ‘scoundrel, a person of hatred and sin’). The band started as a pure Norwegian black metal act but later on changed their style to a more black and death hybrid with a viking theme. During the years the members have changed and Nidingr now consists of founder Teloch together with Øyvind Myrvoll (ex-Dødheimsgard, ex-Myrkur, ex-God Seed (all live)) on drums, Cpt. Estrella Grasa (Kort Prosess) on vocals and Sir (ex-God Seed, Djerv, Gaahls Wyrd, ex-Myrkur (live)) on bass. As you can see that’s some high profile names and that’s always been the case with Nidingr. The High Heat Licks Against Heaven is the bands fourth full-length album.
The music is very dark, there is an atmosphere on this album that speaks of Ragnarok. The lyrics are full with raids, tales of old, death and destruction. The tempo on the songs varies a lot, The Ballad of Hamther having that agressive Norwegian black metal feel to it, whereas On Dead Body Shore they play more of the black and death hyrbid the likes of Behemoth are famous for. Just to on the track after, Gleipnir, slow it down and it becomes almost a sludge and doom fest. I think the difference in approaches while keeping the red line on the songs is Nidingr’s strong point. It’s something special about Nidingr that I can’t really put a name on it. It’s just good music that’s different but really well made from veterans in the Norwegian black metal scene who knows what they are doing. There’s even some well known guests on the tracks Ash Yggdrasil and Naglfar is Loosed, as Garm of the band Ulver and Myrkur makes appearances.
I didn’t like every single track on the album, simply because of the different approaches to them. I would say it’s the same for me and Enslaved, I love what they do for the viking metal scene but some songs are just not for me. However I do respect what Nidingr does just as well and there are a few tracks here I will definitely go back to at times. The album as a whole is a cool piece of black metal that fans of Enslaved, Helheim and Dødheimsgard will like. Nidingr – The High Heat Licks Against Heaven is out now through Indie Recordings.