Metal, perhaps more than any other genre in music, lends itself to copious amounts of all-consuming atmosphere. Whether it be the glorious battlefields of Middle-Earth, the deepest pits of hell, the frost-bitten tundras of the north, or the muddy trenches of World War I, metal has a penchant for the thematic, anthemic, and conceptual. Nattravnen fit directly into their own unique space within this framework, furthering and retelling the legend of the Nattravnen, a giant bird from Norse mythology with empty eye-sockets that cause death when looked upon, and shredded wings that bring disease and suffering. If that isn’t metal as hell, I don’t know what is. Spinning this dark yarn are former Death and Massacre vocalist Kam Lee and Wombbath/Heads for the Dead multi-instrumentalist Jonny Petterson, who covers all instrumental duties here. Together, they create a dark death metal sound that’s as foreboding as it is intriguing, and we’re pleased to premiere “Return to Nevermore”, a track from the band’s debut album Kult of the Raven, exclusively here at Heavy Blog.

Promotional material for Nattravnen describe them as “dark death metal”, and while I would classify a great deal of death metal as “dark” in sound and nature, the moniker holds particularly true here. Petterson’s guitars chug, slice, and bludgeon their way through your brain with brute force, but never without nuance. There’s a distinctly gothic vibe to this track, lending a feeling of Poe-esque drama while smothering the proceedings in mythological imagery. The band do a fantastic job tying their thematic material to the music (huge props to Kam Lee for his extremely evocative vocal performance and epic lyricism), and there isn’t a section of this track that feels out of place in the grander concept of the record. It’s constant state of ominous menace is also accentuated by a touch of black metal styling as well, rounding out the full-yet-brittle production with an icy sequence of riffs that would feel right at home in the Scandinavian wilderness. It’s a smorgasbord of metal’s darkest sounds, presented and performed with skill.

If Norse mythology is up your alley, you won’t want to miss what Nattravnen are bringing to the table. Fans of black and death metal with a gothic twist will be hard pressed to find a record that more effectively nails the sound this year. This is a great track from a great record, which you can pre-order now on Bandcamp and purchase on December 7th. Until then, we can feast with the carrion fowl on “Return to Nevermore”.