Swedish melodic black/death metallers Netherbird are coming after the throne long since vacated with new album, Arete (Eisenwald). We’re talking a lineage that goes back decades, with bands like Dissection, Unanimated, Dawn, Cardinal Sin, Desultory, Vinterland, and the like. Indeed, if the aforementioned bands and their respective ’90s output still ring true in your black-hearted heart of hearts, then Netherbird is a relatively new companion for constitutionals into the ever-black void. Formed in 2004 (with a short, two-year hiatus in 2016), the Stockholmites have between their impressive teeth a six full-lengths (Arete is obviously the newest). They’ve evolved over time, becoming more succinct and mature in their wicked vision.
Frontman Nephente had this to say in Bardo Methodology: “I have not the slightest interest in making ’joyful’ or ’funny’ music, which is actually the very reason I didn’t even reflect over the fact that ‘netherbird’ sounds like the Swedish word ’nederbörd’, as in rainfall or downpour, when picking it. I wanted a name without connotations to either death or black metal, something neutral so that our art, over time, would fill the name with meaning; all depending on whatever direction we were moving in. Essentially, I wanted it to capture the sentiment of ’freedom in – and through – darkness’, so I combined the images of ’nether’ and ’bird’. It was never intended for amusement.”
This carries over to Arete, an eight-song monster that feels like the album between Storm of the Light’s Bane and In the Light of Darkness, but yet recognized uniquely as something else entirely. Songs like “Void Dancer,” “Carnal Pentiment,” and “Atrium of the Storm” are, undoubtedly, of Swedish origin. The DNA is present and forthright. But unlike the melodic black and death metal hybrids of the late ’90s, Netherbird imbue their spiteful intent with influences from across the metallic spectrum. The presentation of the core idea is also different, which makes tracks like opener “Towers of the Night,” “Infernal Vistas,” and “The Silence of Provenance” standouts from the norm (looking back, of course).
Say Netherbird: “We are honored to present this premiere of our sixth album Arete with Decibel Magazine! With Arete, we release our strongest album to date where we keep exploring the contrasts between the frail and beautiful and harsh brutality. As always our music is deeply rooted in the early Scandinavian death and black metal but we also let some of our heavy metal roots show with more defined choruses and guitar solos.”
Be arrested by melodic black/death brilliance with Netherbird’s Arete. Streaming in full now.