Kaevum’s Natur is the first release of the year to floor me completely on first listen. This is raw Norwegian Black Metal played with the utmost conviction and craft. If comparison has any value at all, fans of Pagan Hellfire, Mgła and Primigenium should flock to hear Kaevum. This half-hour torrent of cold, heart-stopping riffwork is fuelled by the same driving rhythms that make those bands what they are. Guitars may storm on inexorably, but the drums rarely stay settled for long, firing more and more barrages of charging patterns. The riffs are quintessentially Norwegian, striking that perfect balance between cold melody and hellish dissonance that the genre’s progenitors made their trademark. But Natur brings some surprises too: at points the piercing demoniac shrieks give way to Bergtatt-like chanting, a stirring contrast to the overall rawness of the music.

Though an official statement is lacking, the general consensus is that Kaevum is an NS band – a claim strongly supported by the cover art. Thankfully, Kaevum’s music is worlds apart from the typical bore-fest and propagandism of most NSBM, swearing a more overt allegiance to the twin gods of true Norwegian Black Metal: nature and darkness.

With six songs lasting half an hour in all, you can decide for yourselves if Natur is an album or an EP. Either way, in my eyes it stands just as good a chance as the last Aura Noir of being the best Norwegian release this year.

Buy Natur from Sabbath’s Fire Records

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