Swedish metalheads Wormwood return with their second full-length, Nattarvet, which includes some of their most personal, hard-hitting metal of various sub-genres. It is a dynamic and well-produced record of tremolo picking, melancholic bridges and interludes, folk leads, solos, and memorable guitar passages.
Thick, distorted guitars go into some underwhelming major chords that occur every-so-often on the album. Tremolo picking makes up for them and the mystical folk leads take the song into a wholly unexpected direction. An unexpected solo leads to an epic ballad. This opening track, Av Lie Och Börda, sets up the listener for some interesting songwriting and great guitar riffs.
“I Bottenlörda Ävja” begins with a solemn, organ-like sound with folk violin and sampled birds singing. It is a beautiful way to start the song, but the transition leaves something to be desired. The melody is later adopted by the guitars, but it isn’t enough to make the interlude feel like a part of the song. Still, the quiet/loud dynamic of this track is quite satisfying. But, the vocals on the beautiful bridge in the middle of the track ruin the part. This is a common occurrence for this album. The screams are great, the yells not so much.
This record is full of nice tempo changes and a great guitar tone that can be clear and sharp at times but low and dirty at others. There are more beautiful intros, with varying success incorporating them into the track. Like a lot of metal, including other genres, the influences seem at times to be disjointed. This contributes to the fact that some parts are memorable and others are wholly forgettable. The only glaring problem are the alternate yelling vocals that should be replaced by more screams.
The penultimate track, ‘Tve Hunger,’ begins with some beautiful guitars and goes into some of the fastest riffs on the album, but there is a pervasive issue with the smoother parts being totally separate from the more intense ones. The listener begs for more cohesion.
When the album reaches its last track, ‘The Isolationist,’ the song’s long, patient intro, is a much-needed change of pace. Featuring beautiful guitars and fast, crunching riffs, it includes different styles better than any of this album’s other tracks.
Building over a number of parts, there is a long, jam-y bridge with improvisational lead guitars and a smooth bass tone. The track ends with a guitar riff that leaves suddenly, tastefully, making the 11-minute track seem short.
While there are many moments on this album that satisfy, it is just a bit inconsistent. Some passages were gorgeous or heavy or fast, but others were lost as the album progressed. A few tracks are forgettable, but overall, Nattarvet is a solid record for any metal fan.