Vault Review: Nazgûl – De Expugnatione Elfmuth

Zakrathor (front) and Thornset (back) – Metal Archives

Introduction

Band: Nazgûl
Album: De Expugnatione Elfmuth
Genre: Symphonic/Epic Black Metal / Self described as Orcish Black Metal
Country: Italy
Label: Gollum’s Treasures

Nazgûl was formed in Palermo, Italy in February 1997 by founding Orcs, Zakrathor and Thornset. When founded, the band carried the name of “Ahriman” but was quickly changed to Nazgûl.

Nazgûl released their demo “Omne Est Paratum” in 1998 and their only full-length album “De Expugnatione Elfmuth” in 2002. As you might notice by the names of the releases, they are both in Latin and so are all the lyrics on the records.

De Expugnatione Elfmuth contains 14 epic tracks where 4 are instrumental pieces and 10 tracks all with Latin lyrics. All lyrics can luckily be found translated to English on Metal Archives.

Now this is a “from the vault” review due to its release was now over 20 years ago, which also means I have had the time to spin this record over 50 times by now. I can already spoil that I fucking love this record, and why do I love it so much? Because De Expugnatione Elfmuth is what you get when the Orcs are making music drunk, and have been smoking “Old Toby” as they were old chimneys, in celebration after successfully burning down “Westfold” and murdering the peasant’s that lived there!

De Expugnatione Elfmuth

The album starts off with the track “Proemium” which is a choired song, setting the theme for the album already. “Hult-Garth” takes over and starts off with a calm synthesizer before the brawling guitars and programmed drums come blasting. The instruments suddenly stop again, and a low voice is speaking, high-pitched muffled screams abrupt, and brings the song further into the black metal parts. The music is all over the place, and it’s precisely what I would presume an Orc-hestra would sound like (pun intended) if played by nasty Angbad-Orcs!

The record’s most popular song, “Elficidium” opens up with a fun flute melody that at least gets me whistling like an idiot. It’s accompanied by string instruments like violin, some synths, drums and underlying guitars. When your mouth starts to ache from the whistling, horse cloves of the Nazgûl are heard closing, ending the happy flute melody. Trumpet like sounds and rapid – fire drums carry on and brings darkness to the track. Where the Orcs go, terror and darkness will follow. The songs contain deep growling vocals as if a Balrog is speaking, and the Nazgûl muffled screaming style is heard through-out the album.

Nazgûl – De Expugnatione Elfmuth

Here he comes to reveal himself in all his power.
An enormous black figure, vomiting flames,
Covered by auculeses, starting to incinerate, transfix,
Tear to pieces,
The army flaked off.
Orkian, jumped on the back of the devastating steed,
Trained by dwarfs in the caves since hundreds of years,
Thrusting, into his eyes, his broadsword,
Flooding with blood, the ground below between
The screams of the beast.

Lyrics from Charcharon – Damnosus Impetus

This record is a fun one! Nothing else can make me want to move and whistle like I am a drunk Goblin at a renaissance party, hosted by the Witchking of Angmar himself. It’s great orc-hestrated fucking chaos. Musically, going from a beautiful melodic keyboard piece on the track “Nigrum Praesagium,” to flute on songs like “Elficidium” and “Impetus Quartae Lunae Novae”, to full on raw black metal with the most disgusting vocal’s (in a good way) that you can find.

The Italians in Nazgûl spellbound you to a medieval atmosphere filled with Ringwraiths, Goblins, and Wargs. They tell a tale with this record, in a fun and possibly over the top way but it works so damn well! Reading the lyrics on Metal Archives is also a trip in itself.

Who now are bleeding at the sound of thousand
whips
Which tear their skin and pain and suffering
The blood mixed with sweat pushes
The ship towards a silver sea where a tired
Sun plunged.
Everything is ready for the battle
The tympanus stress the forced march of ogres
and trolls
Eager for fighting just for pleasure.
They parade under a grey sky
Full of hatred like the damn’s master.

Lyrics from Solvitur ad Elfmuth – Ante Bellum

De Expugnatione Elfmuth is unlike anything else I’ve heard and pushes the boundaries of black metal. I think some might discard this release as “unserious black metal” and over the top with all the synth and rare vocals, but that is what makes this release so important. It’s defying the rules of “true black metal”, it’s original and weirdly great!

Conclusion

I think this is one of the greatest hidden gems out there in the endless releases of black metal. I might even dare to say it’s my favourite black metal album of all time.

Furthermore, I can only suggest you to sit down and listen to this crazy piece with an open mind. True Norwegian Black Metal or beautiful atmospheres is not what you will find. Have some beers, bring out the medieval sword you have on your wall (we all know you have one) and immerse yourself in Nazgûl’s, Tolkien inspired masterpiece!

BMZ Rating: 10 / 10

Support the artist at: Bandcamp – Nazgûl

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