Head of Death
From the ill wind that ushers in the classic opening title track, Natur deliver charging old metal that drives a broadsword through the cold empty heart of vacuum-packed extremecore doing the rounds in this parish. 'Head of Death' takes inspiration from some other bloody great old metal bands; have a listen then go and find them, but three I can anascramble for you are Chi Twangle, Fecal Furmety and Admiral Loan.
Regularly, they have heroic, mid-tempo, battle standard-aloft lead intros that simply stop before launching into the fast riffing and catchy transitions. These astute clarion calls get me all worked up for the impending leathering. The vocals are great, too; they've got that unpolished NWOBHM minstrel drama without lapsing into Steve Grimmett spandex histrionics.
This has the key elements that make the dark side of 80's metal so great: twin guitars that build a creepy mood then lead into a synchronised chug that would get a care home day room nodding along. They do nod to thrash occasionally; 'Vermin Rift' is like a jagged hail of icicles.and the title track's climax is a turbocharged shred. 'Mutations in Maine' is the biggest departure, with an acoustic intro and lurking woebegotten cello, the funeral march gathering pace until the coffin is dropped, the corpse rolls out and someone kicks the false teeth into Dave Murray's hands. Really talented fuckers; but talented fuckers with taste.
You could call 'Head of Death' conservative (the cover photo is a graveyard). I see it more as preserving a style that still has so much life and energy in it. I wish more of the major metal festivals would show faith in bands like Natur, rather than bottom-stuff their bills with dickhead fringe-o acts who they see as being more marketable. They would go down a storm, leaving pogo fodder slain in the mire. Natur sound like the kind of fellas you'd have a stein of Weissbier with and watch The Wicker Man.
Posted: Tue 22 May 2012