Nachtlieder’s fiery black metal pays homage to wild spirits, keen hunter on skin-shredding ‘Lynx’

Photo by I Breathe Needles

Metal is filled with wolves. They’re in band names, album titles, song lyrics, merch, you name it. Same goes for a lot of other animals, both fictional and real, as bands use imagery and the creatures’ traits to color in their own characteristics and personalities. One animal we don’t hear from in the metal world nearly enough is the lynx, that silent predator can be on top of you before you know it.

Luckily for those carnivorous cats, Swedish black metal spirit Nachtlieder is paying tribute with their new, second album “Lynx.” Not only are these animals, some of which are highly endangered, known and feared for their stalk-and-ambush hunting approach, they also are given credit for their ability to see the unseen, something that’s been carved into mythology as these animals having the gift of knowledge and clairvoyance. On Nachtlieder’s third record, an eight-track effort that’s arriving imminently, Dagny Susanne, who handles all aspect of the record but drums (Martrum once again performs those duties), delivers carnage and fury on a record that focuses on death and isolation. You can feel the assault coming, smell the blood on Susanne’s teeth, and feel the fury of her work as this record tramples you underfoot.

“Claws and Bone” gets the record off to a stormy start, as fog envelops, riffs swirl, and Susanne’s harsh growls grab you by the throat. Black metal melodies wash through like a blackened stream, while the back end disappears into pure chaos. The title cut has guitars encircling its prey, while sinister growls rip through, and outright hell erupts. “Come predators, come hunters, I turn my gaze to the skyline, and the night belongs to me,” Susanne howls, as the song goes on a fire-breathing tear, ending at the bloody corpse of its enemy. “Song of Nova” unleashes powerful melodies, as the growls go for the guts, and the drums begin to destroy. “There is no escape!” Susanne wails, while a deathly black mix floods to the surface, and the finish is decimating. “Nameless, Faceless” has guitars that fire up, with Susanne’s creaky growls getting under your skin, and melodies cascading. Gritty riffs and crushing cries join together and wash out into madness.

“Law of Decay” tears calm apart from the start, as blistering chaos and ferocious growls pile up and head toward your chest. Guitars swim through the filth, while deadly mashing ends the song on a heap of bones. “Dark Matters” has a fluid start, with weird keys whirring behind and growls scraping the surface of the earth. Black metal melodies wash up on shore, as a thick bassline picks up the path, and the track disappears into an oncoming storm. “Eyes Ablaze” is smothering at the start, with growls tearing through, and brutal, fiery riffs setting fires. The terrifying riffs add more levels of damage, with Susanne’s hellish cries landing before an abrupt end. Closer “Moksha” splits open faces when it starts, as guitars light up the night sky, and fiery vocals roast flesh. “Forlorn travel of the forsaken, for the lonely mortal, the spirit moves only in circles,” Susanne cries, as the pace swelters, making you feel dizzy, before speed emerges and ramps up the danger. From there, the vocals shred the senses, the guitars ring out, and the track disappears into a cavern of sound that swallows you whole.

This is the most savage, unrelenting record of Nachtlieder’s run so far, as “Lynx” reflects its subject matter’s sudden and ferocious assault tactics. The music is full of torment and fury, and Susanne’s violent vocals add that much more bloodshed to her compositions. It’s about time the lynx got some love in the destructive metal world, a place that could use a few more hungry predators among its ranks.

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