Head Of Death


01. Head Of Death
02. The Messenger
03. Goblin Shark
04. Decion
05. The Servant
06. Vermin Rift
07. Spider Baby
08. Mutations In Maine

[Earache Records]

Some bands were just built for vinyl. They just exude an air of legitimate fascination for a simpler time when the only bands that mattered wore a uniform of denim and leather and every great album came packaged as either a gatefold vinyl complete with liner notes and gorgeous artwork or a cassette tape that would get magnetised simply by existing in the same post code as a fridge magnet. Natur are one of those bands — from the moment the distinctly cheesy wind sound effects of the title track kick through the speakers, you’d be justified in saying that the only thing missing from the listening experience is that distinctly warm vinyl fuzz.

So whilst it feels criminal to be listening to Head Of Death as 192kbps mp3’s, Natur make up for the atmosphere by tapping all the right influences for their debut full player. Angel Witch sits happily nestled alongside Mercyful Fate, early Iron Maiden and even dashes of Cathedral for the full 50 minute play time and the band quite gleefully ignores any advancement in metal that wasn’t already set in stone by 1990. There’s all the necessary components that made those bands great present — the guitars gallop in riffs and soar in solos, drums set the backbone and Weibust’s vocals tell twisted tales of magick and the occult. However, there’s an unfortunate lack of consistency present here.

The Messenger‘ starts strong with a truly powerful galloping riff before alternating between lethargic doom-y sections and more up-tempo thrash parts — there’s nothing wrong with the track other than that it never manages to grab attention in the same way after that first riff. Closer ‘Mutations In Maine‘ suffers that same unfortunate fate, whilst there are peaks to it, for the most part what should have been a 7 minute epic finale falls short and just becomes passable. On the other hand, tracks like ‘Decion‘ and ‘Spider Baby‘ are unbelievable in comparison, Natur clearly sets their distortion pedals to ‘kill’ and come up with some truly anthemic and catchy songs with an unashamed love for vocal hooks and succeeding where a lot of their NWOBHM based peers had failed by combining it all seamlessly with a love of huge retro-riffs. Die hard fans may notice though, that the majority of the tracks that are most direct and instantly likable are all re-recorded from the demos and splits that preceded this release. Whilst this isn’t exactly a new tactic for a band recording their first release, there seems to be  a distinct difference in quality between the previous released material and everything else.

Trad-metal and the NWOBHM revival were a borderline ‘trend’ a few years back with the emergence of bands such as Holy Grail and even labelmates Cauldron and White Wizzard, which puts Natur in a very interesting position of being able to pedal the music they do without a lot of the knee jerk cynicism that seems to surround any movement within metal. Head Of Death is far from perfect, but it’s definitely one of the most interesting and intriguing sounds to come from their area of expertise and, more importantly, it’s a record that provides the perfect base for what should become a really great band. It should be particularly interesting to see what black magick Natur conjure up next.


Natur’s Head Of Death gets…



– DL

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