To be fair: Cuba wasn’t exactly the center point of my personal Extreme Metal map – which is basically the understatement of the century: Cuba didn’t even appear on that map. Fortunately, one-man-project Narbeleth changes that with their second album A Hatred Manifesto, that is, in nuce, everything a Black Metal album should be: old school, grim, raw and as dark as night.
Of course, you can see very clearly where A Hatred Manifesto comes from: for thirty minutes it screams “True Norwegian Black Metal” right in your face as loud as possible. You should definitely let it turn for a while in your player to make out differences to Norwegian products – but there are few, except a rather distinctive accent in the voice of mastermind Dakkar. A Hatred Manifesto is, however, not a bad album. Narbeleth convince with seven very self-contained and well done songs as well as the coversong “Nyx” (originally by by Urgenhal) that really works as well as the original. All pieces on A Hatred Manifesto are strongly dominated by the riffs – overall not very innovative, or somewhat specifically “Cuban”, but very good and gripping. Speed is, no surprise, high, and Dakkar really knows what he’s doing with a pair of drumsticks – and that is basically all I need to hear on a Black Metal album.
I am also quite impressed by the quality of production Narbeleth displays, only a song called “Fuck Off!” should be a little more dirty in my opinion – but no complaints here, for sure! I also really enjoy Dakkars voice, that is very distinctive, with growls and screams always perfectly delivered. A paganistic touch to all the unholy blasphemy comes with “Land of the Heathen”, but that stays rather superficially. “Rotten to the Core”, “Posercorpse” or “Nihilistic Propaganda” show that Narbeleth knows how to work its way around the Black Metal playground, and does so very well.
Overall, Dakkar knows what he’s doing, and his beast Narbeleth delivers the really good stuff: cold as ice, well produced, fast as hell and not Cuban at all! I’ll have some more of that, please! Europe, brace yourself and forget everything you’ve learned about the music on Castro’s little island! Narbeleth will kick your asses on the Under The Black Sun Festival in Berlin this year, and after listening to A Hatred Manifesto I am really tempted to get my body beat there!
1. Total Isolation
2. Breathing a Wind of Hatred
3. Fuck Off!
4. Rotten to the Core
5. Land of the Heathen
7. Nihilistic Propaganda
8. Nyx (Urgenhal-Cover)
Total running time: 30:11