Nefaria/A Tragic Journey Towards the Light
3/21/2008 - Review by: David Loveless
Striborg's Nefaria/A Tragic Journey Toward The Light CD is my first introduction to the band, and I had very high hopes for the music contained within. With being compared to the likes of Xasthur, Leviathan, and Burzum, I was expecting something very big, especially in a Black Metal genre that contains very few gems. Although the music is grim, and right in tune to the true necro-black metal style, I cannot say that Striborg is in the same league as Xasthur and Burzum. Here you have everything you want in a black metal album: subpar production, fuzzy guitar tones, minimalistic drumming efforts, and heavily distorted vocals. The problem is, despite all the effort, Nefaria is just an average black metal recording that I will probably forget about in a few months. However, there are some good songs on this release!
The first song, Nefaria is your run-of-the-mill black metal song with all of the song qualities mentioned above. It also contains some unique blast beats as well as "drumming bloopers" that decrease the quality of the song. The second song, Permanent Forest, is a grim keyboard number that is a good reminder of the latter days of Burzum. This fades into the song, Somnambulistic Nightmares which has a nice opening riff and some impressive drumming. Probably one of the highpoints of this album, this song really reminds me of early Clandestine Blaze. Next, Garmonbozia kicks in at a very fast pace and can immediately be compared to Blut Aus Nord. With less distortion on the vocals, this is probably one of the most accessible songs in this collection. Here is where things get a little weird. The next song, Lament is another keyboard instrumental, this time complemented with cheesy pop-esque drum machine beats. Next is Bleeding Black Tears of Hate. Probably the closest comparison to Xasthur on this album, it is unfortunately 9 minutes of boring, slow-paced depressive metal. With the vocals completely inaudible and the drums over-exaggerated, this song just does not make any sense to me. Things continue to go downhill as the final song (of the Nefaria part of the CD), Black Apparitional Void, starts off with a distorted, acoustic riff and acoustic piano passages. At around the 4 minute mark, blast beats take over and the song excels at a much quicker pace. However, the final 5 minutes of this song is disastrous with things happening all over the place.
What comes next is the 1995 demo recording called Tragic Journey Toward The Light. Probably one of the worst sound recordings that I ever heard, Tragic Journey is a stereotypical release from the mid 90's. However, the awesome riffing cannot help this release from becoming a complete catastrophe. The vocals are very distorted - which is no problem - but the overuse of reverb makes it sound terrible. The worst thing is the awful drum machine used in this recording. Sounding like it could be from a kids Barbie keyboard, the drums pretty much butcher every song. However, I will say that the guitar work is absolutely awesome and it is unfortunate that they were recorded among the circumstances that I mentioned above.
Although this release just does not do it for me, I am sure that other fans of cult Black Metal will want to add this to their collection. I will also not let my disappointment in this CD stop me from checking out other Striborg albums either. I really hear a hidden talent in this band and am sure there is a release or two by them that will blow me away. However, be forewarned that if you are planning to listen to Striborg for the first time, do not do it with this album!
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