Hailing from a rather unlikely place for such cold black metal, Cuba, comes Narbeleth. Forming back in 2008, this is their 6th full length album release titled A Pale Crown. Continuing from their previous release Svmma Cvm Nox Arcana, they’ve continued down the path of the traditional Norwegian second wave, creating a cold harsh sound but with clean and catchy riffs that make for a fun listen. The band themselves take heavily from the old masters like Darkthrone, Immortal, Taake, Arckanum and many more.
The album doesn’t take any time and just jumps straight into the action. Raw guitar riffs, blast beats, and a hellish howl from the cold mountains greet you on the first track. It flows into this melodic melodramatic riff with such a gothic aesthetic dripping from it. It takes you back to the olden days of black metal, where the important parts were the riffs and just how cold it all feels and sounds. What’s great though is that they don’t just take form the past and copy it over again, they’re able to form their own sound while molding themselves after the previous masters, continuing the black metal sound in a true and authentic way that doesn’t stick around for posers. Narbeleth really sticks to their roots, as their sound hasn’t changed too much over time, only the quality of their output and the technicality that they present on these tracks. There’s almost a neoclassical feel to some of these guitar riffs, as they’re the most prominent part of these eight tracks. What more is just how well they all meld and flow together, the tracks really blend into one another forming these beautifully hypnotic melodies that get you lost in the dark fantasy that they conjure.
I’ve been following this band for a long while now, going back to their first album Diabolus Incarnatus which feels like such humble beginnings for the band in their rather unlikely and truly underground scene of black metal within Cuba. Back then their sound was much more raw, but just as aggressive and connecting with the 90s roots as well. Its very interesting hearing their departure from Cuba as they now reside in Spain, as they connect with their roots as well. It shows within their music as since they relocated they’ve consistently have gotten better and better, with each release being something bigger than before. This is a step in a good direction for the band and I’ll continue to be checking out their future releases. A must listen for every true black metal fan out there.