By Jonathan Smith
From the comic book occult artwork on the covers to the promotional photos of the band in full spiky regalia, the old-school vibe that Swedish black metallers Nifelheim have exhibited since the mid-nineties is found on these re-releases in its roughest forms. With a sound rooted more in earlier bands like Bathory and Venom rather than later Norwegian cuts, both Nifelheim and Devil’s Force are blasts of thrashy black metal that stick to a plan and rarely deviate. Compared back to back, stand-out riffs like those found in songs such as “Sodomizer” and the added cover of Bathory’s “Die In Fire” mean that the debut holds up better than Devil’s Force. A welcome feature is the fact that both CD inserts retain the “Side A” and “Side B” track listings from the original records. This arrangement makes it easier to get a sense of the albums’ original flow. The inserts are also worth a browse. They contain recording information, write-ups from Metalion of Slayer magazine, and a variety of promotional and behind-the-scenes photos. Whether it’s time to restock your collection or you’re just discovering Nifelheim for the first time, both the debut and Devil’s Force contain the original goods plus just enough little “metal geek” extras to make you consider taking the trip back in time.
Rating: 6.5 (Nifelheim), 6.0 (Devil’s Force)