The biography for Italian band Neravendetta paints a picture of a band who have overcome all sorts of difficulties in order to record Magnum Chaos, their debut album. It’s taken roughly ten years for the band to have gained the kind of stability and resources needed to self-release an album, and that time and effort is clear throughout. Magnum Chaos is a triumphant, stirring 38 minutes of viking metal that isn’t afraid to look to the stars, tapping in to the sense of grandeur that the best bands of the style do. As powerful as a fur-clad berserker, this album is evidence that sometimes, hard work does pay off.
Right from the start, a sense of cosmic perspective is put across, with opener “A Cosmic Journey” declaring “I saw that the sun was just another star”, and using this revelation as the inspiration to travel out in to the unknown – this is far, far removed from stereotypical viking metal songs about war and drinking, and all the better for it. That sense of ambition is conveyed in the music, which retains an open, wondrous feel throughout, and the mixing of astronomical and mythological themes in to a whole is surprisingly effective. It feels rooted within the viking metal paradigm, but also with a refreshing awareness of and openness to new ideas.
Musically though, there’s no mistaking this for anything other than viking metal. The production gives the instruments a nice weight – the balance between bass and guitars is especially good, and gives songs like “Polaris” extra depth they may otherwise lack. The vocals are on the more black metal side of things, largely being snarled and rasped, and it works well – too many viking metal bands undermine their work by introducing weak clean vocals, and Neravendetta avoid this pitfall. It also has to be highlighted just how stirring and moving some of these guitar lines are – closer “Sailing To Chaos” being the best of a very strong bunch when it comes to riffs, blending the majestic with the slightly melancholy, though the different sections of the song do not flow together quite as well as might be hoped for.
To focus on such minor complaints is to overlook the bigger picture though, which is how impressive Magnum Chaos is, especially for a debut album. A lot of work and dedication has gone in to the album, and it shows; despite all the hard times and set-backs that Neravendetta had to overcome to complete the album, the band have released an album brimming with confidence and power that is worthy of recognition from the metal underground.
Magnum Chaos is available to stream and download via Bandcamp.