It’s satisfying to know that over the past couple of years traditional heavy metal has been re-valued by the mainstream metal world. This has allowed Natur to sign to the high-profile Earache and reach an audience craving for the same denim delights gained by their parents in the genre’s eighties hey-day.
There are now so many bands fighting for denim and leather that the classic genre is becoming over-crowded. Natur are one of the bands in this metal rumble who luckily have the song-writing abilities to be distanced from the rest of the pack.
Natur’s sound is impressively varied at times and their occasional use of speed metal and old school thrash should distance them from the shackles of the ‘one-dimensional band’ tag. Although the band are similar to label comrades Enforcer, their brand of traditional metal seems more intrinsic and is hard hitting in a way that US artists currently seem to dominate.
The other musical elements that appear on ‘Head of Death’ work in Natur’s favour, with an overall package that could appeal to thrash lovers almost as much as classic metallers. ‘Decion’ is a particular moment where speed rears it’s head, with a powerful and punishing guitar line that can appeal to Anthrax and Anvil fans alike.
Album opener ‘Head of Death’ is over eight minutes in length which is a bold move for a band on their debut. This track is littered with Maiden-esque melodies but also holds a distinctive vibe that separates them from being a mere copy-cat band.
This atmosphere is helped partly by a crisp and powerful production. The sound is fresh enough to appeal to a younger audience, whilst being devoid of those R2-D2 cyber drums that alienate fans of the classic set-up.
The balls to the wall steel of Natur won’t convert those who are after something groundbreaking. Song-titles such as ‘Goblin Shark’ are unlikely to develop world peace with their message but are a lot of fun to crank to eleven with a few beers.
Elsewhere, ‘Vermin Rift’ provides some unashamed Angel Witch worship that could be straight from the glory days of NWOBHM. Atmospheric keyboards and twin guitar melodies creep in to this song and make it abundantly clear that Natur are close to mastering their craft.
Of course, it’s the bands re-worked single ‘Spider Baby’ which makes the biggest impression on ‘Head of Death.’ Although the song has been slowed down and as a result lost some of its bite, the eerie vocals of Weibust are still daunting and give the song an electrifying atmosphere.
The only real low point on ‘Head of Death’ is the uninspired artwork which is too basic and leaves little to no impression. This won’t upset those who download, but for vinyl collectors it’s important to note that the artwork doesn’t reflect the power-house of a band contained within.
Natur have created a solid and striking effort with ‘Head of Death’ and easily deserve a place on your patched jacket.
Scribed by: Alex Varley