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Muggnagar: Bauta

With suitably dark and enigmatic imagery come ungodly Norwegians Muggnagar, a band whose fixation would appear to be split between Viking epics and anti-Christian sloganeering. As you may expect from that, this three piece, comprising Vexxadorian (bass), Wictor (synths) and Count Darcon (everything else) are looking to exploit black areas of extreme metal but in reality it's difficult to place exactly where they land. With a synth attack that's remarkably bright and breezy any possibility of it working alongside the riffs and growl/rasp vocals it accompanies are immediately dashed. As "Muggnagard", "Transilvanian Darkness" and "Paa Korset Henger Det Ein Gubbe" rumble past you are left wondering if the three band members involved simply recorded their parts in separate rooms – without hearing each other – and then melded together the results without considering if they should. Hence as most bands who look to create dark, threatening tones turn up the angst, anger and aggression, so Muggnagar are almost playing music that could accompany a circus act that kids would quickly become bored of, before forgetting. With a keyboard sound that feels like a wheezing accordion and which leaves an almost nursery rhyme feel, it becomes more and more difficult to take what you're hearing at face value. And yet there doesn't appear to be anything that's being played for laughs or looking to even raise a rye smile. All of which leaves you thoroughly confused at what is, in all honesty, substandard demo quality fare.

Darcon's vocals don't lift the mood, an unconvincing monotone delivery just adding to the confusing, contradictory atmosphere created. Throughout you're left looking for the punchline, or at least a door in to this band's way of thinking to understand exactly what was intended as the faux-Ghost of "Alt Er Svart" plods along on fumbling church organ and monk-like chants. But the fog of unbelievability never lifts and remains as impenetrably gloomy as ever.

Two covers are tacked on the end, but any hope that reinterpreting DumDum Boys ("Lunch I Det Grønne") or The Sounds ("Driter I Amerika") would suddenly make this band's message become clear are dashed by – what is something of a shock by this stage – the results being even more fumbling than the band's own material.

I have to admit that I'm completely befuddled by Bauta, a release that falls so short of the ever higher standards the extreme metal genres are demanding, that it really is somewhat of a rude awakening. I'd say that Muggnagar need to go back to the drawing board, but this is their third album and I can't help but wonder if they haven't already scribbled out all the ideas they could possibly come up with. In truth I hope they have.

Track Listing
1. Portene Aabnes
2. Muggnagard
3. Av Odins Ætt
4. Dauden
5. Paa Korset Henger Det Ein Gubbe
6. Alt Er Svart
7. Transilvanian Darkness
8. Lords Of The North
9. War Of Trolls
10. Heaven Has Burned
11. Lunch I Det Grønne (Dumdum Boys Cover)
12. Driter I Amerika (The Sounds Cover)

Added: February 11th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Muggnagar on bandcamp
Hits: 1089
Language: english

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