Nawaharjan – Lokabrenna (2020)REVIEW

Although I’d delved into Svipdagr‘s quest for Menglöð for a similar band’s intended mythology last year, and even purchased a book or two with continued interest, the intended meaning behind the two pieces of the Svipdagsmál persist as amorphous in my mind, left to personal interpretation beyond an otherwise plainly stated path. Too easily distorted by the undisciplined theorem of the internet-educated armchair, the most obvious virtues detailed in the brevity of Eddaic poetry blur within a sea of interpretation that tends to make mysterious puzzle of overthought values — Growing a second feral head from a tame beast’s shoulder. Too often dark and fantastic aphorism is conjured from what appears to have been derivative bedtime stories for warrior’s children. All things are connected but the minds of the ancients aren’t always so lucid when their scraps are picked over. Ah, ‘Lokabrenna’ the burning light of Loki, the dog star and his interactions with the flaming sword Lævateinn, are inspiring and important events with righteous symbolism; The procession of Ragnarök is in fact tied with the flaming sword and its gather by the core stature of the Þurisian ‘Brandawegiz’ system derived by the anti-cosmic männerbund (men’s secret society) Abgrundjaskalkaz. Despite her minuscule (but important) mention in ancient text, the golden goddess Sinmara is yet the keeper of the sword in this derivation of a still broadly applicable poetic lore. This ‘army of the dead’, the Nawaharjan, rebirths nine years beyond cosmic beginnings to rifle-out those nine locks of the keeper’s binding through a lens of proto-Germanic occult narrative by way of a detailed yet willfully aggressive hour-long black metal record.

Confused? Good, there won’t be that much to explain that is entirely worth elucidating for the sake of the actual music and the themes are better reserved for the truly invested. The nine locks to Sinmara‘s chest suggested by the finely illustrative album art align with each of the nine song-titles that make up the tracklist for ‘Lokabrenna’, they read like an early theory of cognitive psychology, or self-actualization: Awareness, intention, reflection, exploration, realization, opposition, transformation, suffering, liberation. This is a path to transcendence distilled for the sake of the impatient and relatively short human experience, tailored towards the sentient among us who’d ever considered more than our own survival while still wishing to live a life of independent thought. A life examined and ascended, attuned to reality and yet baked in the black flames of cosmos to the point of deformity, would break each chain best by their own will and meaning. There is no implication that any associated ordo or society wishes to find convert through these lyrics and ‘Lokabrenna’ instead reads as a combination of credo and personal journey writ in old German and not at all bothered with the accessibility of those not as equally invested as the artist.

Raw and celestially reaching occult black metal rhythms dominate the listening experience, emitting none of the old Norse or proto-Germanic themes superficially and finding a much more direct, sometimes melodious approach to compositional waves than those showcased on extended versions of their first demo/EP (‘Into the Void‘, 2011). ‘Lokabrenna’ is somewhat typical for occult black metal in motion, expressing along the lines of LvxCaelisShrine of Insanabilis, Akrotheism, and one track (“Sunjo”) even features a guest vocal from M. of Chaos Invocation. These are fairly vast comparisons at face value but the sense is that a mixture of Swedish and German occult black metal influences speak most readily to these Berliners. There is some unearthly tendency that’d will the need to compare this record to the most recent Sinmara record due to some relevant themes, production values and some common use of guitar techniques although ‘Lokabrenna’ is slightly less melodic. It’ll undoubtedly appeal to the fandom that surrounds any/all of the previously mentioned though the production is not as expansive as recent output from Studio Emissary.

Nawaharjan are not at all to blame for my inability to connect with their songwriting on an emotional level. It does not grip me but, when viewed through an entirely objective lens, there is a raw-edged polish to ‘Lokabrenna’ that allows it a distinguished and professional air that I appreciated. When sitting under the influence of “Utfursko” (or, exploration) there is the sense that the piece was written in movements meant to convey an exploration. It might sound like a bit of a strain of the imagination but most of the tracks follow suit, matching up to their intended theme with the exception of “Umbibrautiniz” where I did not ‘get’ the allusion to transformation in any obviate sense though it is perhaps the best piece of the lot. ‘Lokabrenna’ does not have to be taken so literally but envisioning the intent of each piece did help maintain my own interest in an otherwise fairly bent-but-straightforward occult black metal album with a heavy focus on atmospheric movements. Though it won’t hold my attention for ages to come, I can still give a moderately high recommendation of this event for the high standards of craft within and the alluringly cryptic nature of Nawaharjan‘s themes.


Artist Nawaharjan
Type Full-length
Released February 21, 2020
BUY & LISTEN on Amor Fati Productions’ Bandcamp! Follow Nawaharjan on Facebook
Genre Black Metal

Moderately high recommendation. 3.75/5.0

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