Driven by infection loaded scowls, hungrily rousing sounds, and rock ‘n’ roll roars, Death, Skulls, Satan is one of those encounters you not only want but need to set the day swinging. The second album from Swedish outfit Nale, it is a rowdily explosive, physically manipulative stomp echoing by all accounts the band’s renowned live energy and prowess.
Formed in 2007, Stockholm hailing Nale released their self-titled debut EP that first year with its successor, From Shit to Salvation uncaged two years later. Critical acclaim met the band’s first album in 2012, Ghost Road Blues recorded with producer Lawrence Mackrory (F.K.Ü, Darkane). The Zombieland EP since has only pushed their growing reputation as too a potent live presence which has seen the band playing the likes of the Getaway Rock Festival, Sabaton Open Air Festival, and Wacken Open Air as well as headlining their own tour in India. Death, Skulls, Satan is Nale’s fusion of rock and metal in full holler and at a whole new level of adventure and persuasion, one of those encounters you just cannot tuck away and move away from.
Slither kicks things off, immediately gnawing and inflaming the senses with its instinctive swing and prowl. Voracious rock and grooved metal unite, riffs harrying and rhythms biting as the track rips through ears. There is a great Static X essence to the Pantera meets King Hiss like song, more so from the vocal contagion of Mathias Blom and a flavouring which pursues the appetite across the multi-hued release. The track continued to writhe and trespass, quickly getting under the skin and thereon worming itself deeper by the second.
The excellent start is forcibly backed by the raw and concussive antics of Filth, the track a predacious confrontation crawling across the senses with ill-intent in its devilry. A touch of Devildriver lines the beast, the song almost leering and drooling over the listener with its nagging riffs and salacious grooves; guitarist Tomas Åkvik laying down sonic pheromones. Its primal temptation moves over for the blues lilted, stoner dusted Dead Man’s Song. As its predecessors, it is a web of grooved and rhythmic tenacity merging the familiar with wholly fresh imagination and invention. It did feel the least original proposition within the album yet it certainly emerged as one of the most captivating.
The album’s title track is contagion, feral rock ‘n’ roll as irritable as it is virulent with Blom a rascal ringleader to the inescapable rhythmic swing of drummer Anders Ljung and the snarling mischievous bassline of Johan Risberg. With Åkvik similarly whipping up spirit and imagination, the track is superb leaving the body breathless and spirit elevated ready for the heavy weighted arousal cast by Exit. Ljung pounds the senses like there is no tomorrow but with purpose and craft whilst Risberg’s bass growls with carnivorous intent. Riffs in turn match its antipathy as Blom crawls over the damage caused; the united proposition another fiercely catchy intrusion with a tinge of Powerman 5000.
Blues and muscle strung hard rock colour the following No Escape, it another adrenaline driven, inventively woven escapade while for fifty odd seconds Drive power drills into the senses with punk discontent and grooved metal toxicity. It is a glorious assault just far too short though its lack of length is more than compensated by the ear entangling, groove twisting seduction of The Black. Dark and sinister, the track writhes over the listener fingering every weak spot until submission like a flirtatious grim reaper.
Hell’s Wrath has the body back bouncing within seconds after, rhythms and grooves alone enough to spark eager participation with Smasher after leading the imagination into dark contemplation. The first just barrels through ears with its voracious rock ‘n’ roll whilst the second takes a more considered attack weaving an array of flavours into its tapestry of temptation.
Final track Pigs mixes both assaults, flying at the senses at times and stalking ears in between but all the time teasing and inflaming an appetite for bruising rock ‘n’ roll. It is a fiery conclusion to an album which ok maybe lacks true uniqueness at times but excites ears and ignites the spirit from start to finish.
Death, Skulls, Satan is out now via Black Lodge.
Pete RingMaster 29/03/2018
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