Each and everyone of us has a couple of bands of which he only likes their early work. I.e. the first Mayhem album, the early Slayer stuff, or the 70s era of Black Sabbath [not my choices, though].
To me, Naglfar is on top of that list. Their first two albums really kicked ass and dragged me into black metal. “Vittra” and “Diabolical”, both relased on the famous Regain Records label, combined furious black metal with death metal in a very unique way and showed excellent songwriting. The energy of both albums hit me like a swedish icestorm. Looking back, their third album, “Sheol”, couldn’t keep up with its predecessors and had a couple of weaks songs on it; not that I noticed it back then. The final nail to their coffin was the departure of vocalist Jens Ryden, who will always be in my Top Five of metal shouters. He joined Thyrfing, whose style was too different from Naglfar to fill the hole Rydens departure left in my music collection.
Yet, Naglfar continued with base player Kristoffer Olivius finally taking over vocal duties. The three albums with him on vocals not only lacked in that field, but also had mostly mediocre songs to offer. Dunno what happened to Naglfar and their songwriting skills, but I suspect that Ryden has been a very important contributor to the songwriting process. His proved that with his solo albums, by the way.
Nearly six months have passed since Naglfar announced that they’re working on a new album. Not much has been revealed since then, but I don’t care too much any more – and I don’t expect the new album to fill the foot steps of “Vittra” and “Diabolical”, but a little hope remains. Maybe the swedes can get their head around new, exciting songs. Time will tell.