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PESTILENCE SHALL COME: Naglfar's Kristoffer Olivius talks darkly prophetic new full-length '


With its pitch-black legacy of grisly murder and dismemberment, of moonlit rites and crumbling tombstones, of frigid fjords and desolate dark forests, extreme metal has long been intimately acquainted with the darkest and most unspeakably horrific facets of the human condition. But while the mining of such deliciously macabre thematic territories is nothing particularly new or unprecedented within this most intensely sinister of subgenres, there is, nonetheless, something eerily timely about the advent of Naglfar’s latest apocalyptic masterpiece. Specifically, that a work as flawlessly attuned to the death-knell beat of this uncommonly harrowing new century should have reached completion just days before the world fell prey to the lethal ravages of COVID-19. Following ‘Cerecloth’s’ anticipated unveiling earlier this month, visionary frontman Kristoffer Olivius sets about unravelling this ghoulishly intricate epic of a full-length.

“I've spoken to many people who've said ‘Don't you think it would be better to wait and delay the release?’ But if anyone should be delivering the soundtrack to these life-changing events that are going on around us, it has to be my band,” asserts Naglfar frontman Kristoffer Olivius on the exceptionally curious circumstances surrounding the long-awaited release of darkly prophetic new slab ‘Cerecloth’. With the rudimentary barebones of this masterfully crafted seventh album having been established some eight years prior, it would be a full six years before the Swedish black metal collective would eventually commit these rough sketches to record. Sourcing limitlessly rich and bountiful inspiration from its harrowing central narratives of blackly flourishing pestilence, horror and despair, it wasn’t long before these many dusky, intricately twisted yarns would coalesce into the stuff of nerve-shattering, apocalyptic nightmares. Of course, little did Olivius and co. know that they’d already unwittingly begun penning the soundtrack to one of the latest and greatest catastrophes ever to befall human civilisation. And just as the band were readying themselves to make the grandiose unveiling of ghoulishly chilling first single ‘Cerecloth’, a slew of countries across the continent officially confirmed long-circulating rumours of a global pandemic as COVID-19 set about ruthlessly decimating the population. Indeed, Kristoffer is the first to agree that there’s something more than a little uncanny about the coinciding of these two separate yet curiously synchronised occurrences.

“I truly believe everything happens for a reason,” the frontman observes thoughtfully. “At that point eight years ago, we already knew that the next album coming up is going to be called 'Cerecloth'. This was a visual concept that we have been discussing for quite sometime now and it's like a vision of seeing the world being slowly, slowly wrapped into this death garment. So of course it's a metaphor for something else, of civilisation and human evolution coming to some kind of a halt or some sort of an end. And this was of course, as usual, written in a very prophetic way because of how it came to be like with this quarantine and everything happening when we released the first single. It's always awesome when things come together like this, like a little bit prophetic almost.”

As thoroughly bristling with blackly lacerating aggression as it is extravagantly drenched in deathly, intricately spiralling atmospherics, every deliciously frostbitten inch of masterfully crafted first single ‘Cerecloth’ appears to have been almost purposely engineered in readiness for the uncommonly bleak new era in which we find ourselves. Unveiled to the world in the shape of a darkly cinematic music video that sees band members surrounded by a ghoulish multitude of shrouded corpses and rolling mist, seldom does an apparent work of fiction resonate on such an unflinchingly visceral and affecting level. Plunging listeners still deeper into this coldly immersive netherworld of wanton chaos and destruction, ‘Vortex of Negativity’ followed a mere three weeks later, displaying an altogether more intensely sinister and melodic facet of this anticipated body of work as its official release date loomed ever tantalisingly closer.

“That's the reason we chose those two tracks, because they're not very much alike,” Kristoffer elaborates. “But they're still very much a good representation of what Naglfar is. From my point of view, there were other songs we could've chosen also but I feel that, especially the first song we chose, the title track… it's very important to do it like that and put that song out as a single. I don't think that that's something we would have done in the past and probably not in the future either, but for this one I felt that this was just the natural thing to do and that this would be the first one that we would present to people. I think it's an awesome track. We recorded both those videos during one day and they're done by a local filmmaker from here who's actually a relative of mine, and we gave him free rein to do pretty much whatever he wanted with it because we felt that he understands what our band is about and everything."

"But I think one thing that really came out especially in