Full disclosure: I was barely alive when Nifelheim’s main influences began taking the lord’s name in vain. But a first pass through Envoy of Lucifer, the Swedish metal quintet’s fourth album and first in seven years, arouses the same primeval (prim-evil?) buzz that kids in the ’80s must have felt when they first wrapped their ears around Venom, Slayer, Bathory, and Sodom. In other words, this shit is prime blackened thrash metal with a Satanic lyrical bent that would scare yer mom back in 1984.
There’s enough camp deployed in Envoy of Lucifer’s liner notes to pacify the moms of 2008 (check the goat ‘n’ skull clutched by bassist Tyrant and rhythm guitarist Apocalyptic Desolator’s invisible oranges). No blank retro workouts here, though. Nifelheim keeps the focus on memorable songs and great playing, especially from lead guitarist Vengeance from Beyond and drummer Insulter of Jesus Christ! (his exclamation point, not mine). Envoy of Lucifer is a great listen for thrash greenhorns and nostalgists alike. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another seven years for the follow-up — Tyrant and Hellbutcher aren’t getting any less bald.