NATAN – Het Zicht Van De Dood

NATAN - Het Zicht Van De Dood
  • 8.5/10
    NATAN - Het Zicht Van De Dood - 8.5/10


Iron Age Records
Release date: September 1, 2008

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The Belgian band Natan is one of many proofs that Black Metal has developed over the years since its arrival in the early 1990s. The blending of atmospheric elements into Black Metal really made the change and raised the level of interest in this blackened subgenre.

The year is 2002, Genk., Belgium, that’s the period when Natan began their first steps in the Metal world. These six guys made, and are currently making, a huge effort in creating the best Black Metal music while mixing it with tons of melodies and minor Folk Metal elements. After releasing a couple of demos, they released their first debut EP in 2005, Nevel, which carved the way, in the same year, to a feature in a joint split with a Jordanian band named, Augury. 3 years later, under the British label – Iron Age Records, they release their first full length album, Het Zicht Van De Dood.

By examining their production’s quality, one will really appreciate a high level effort. This prime factor, produced by Dirk Miers and Natan, played a major role in the band’s new outcome. The mixing and the mastering are perfect, making this release higher than other various attempts in this particular subgenre. Here the guitars are played in a normal volume that doesn’t choke and amazing drumming by the great Ezra and regarding the vocals, they are way on top of the other instruments but no too much above. The volume handling of the violin, keyboards and other folk components, which was not in an exaggerated way, allowed this release to receive a wonderful atmospheric shade that went well with the cold-icy melodies.

Het Zicht Van De Dood offers the most evolved form of Black Metal – aggressive, melodic as hell and atmospheric. The high level performance by the boys will open various eyes towards melodic Black Metal. Natan’s material, in the music section, is largely very similar to other Black Metal bands of the mid 90s, especially Emperor. Many of Natan’s melodic riffs can be recognized, by some Emperor fans, as a strong influence from the band’s mid 90s era with albums like: In The Night Side Eclipse and their best release, Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk. Natan’s, seemingly, uncontrolled melodies will surely create deep dark feelings among many listeners and inspire thoughts about subjects that are unavoidable in Black Metal: Cold, winter, Paganism, Wars and Death.

Adjoining the massive melodic rhythm sections and small solo sections, comes along the progressiveness of the drums as in the self titled track, the sweet and soft female voice in the beginning and the end of the track: “Velden Van Bloed”, the electric and acoustic violins, which are played by the lead vocalist and finally, the all around keyboards that deliver a cold sensation.

If there is something that is irritating about this album it’s the overly repeated melodic rhythms in a song. Natan’s coordinated effort to create a melodic piece can be asserted as a success, but with too much overplaying of melodies, especially ones that are repeating themselves, can get tiresome at times. This minor aspect is part the reason some songs are longer and can be just as good if they were shorter than their original length. This phenomenon has some hold on various songs around the album.

Natan as a whole are a well talented group. All of them deserve praises for their roles all around this recording. All of the gang will get a small closure. The lead vocalist, Jonatan, is like any growler in Black Metal but what is most interesting rather is his secondary role as a violinist. He plays both electric and acoustic violins that can be noticed on tracks like “Velden Van Bloed” and in the massive “De Hodge”. His role has more than a minor effect on the band’s music and elevates its performance.
The synth / keyboards’ man, Dario, is another major agent in the band’s melodic music and he is in charge of the atmospheric dome around the band. The melodic rhythm that follows the melodic guitars makes the whole rhythm a lot richer, powerful, and in some points, evil.
The drummer, Ezra: what a drummer – so versatile and an expert performer. His drumming makes this album more than just a Black Metal album.
The twin axes, Daniel and Dries, are, almost, the whole story of the band. Their explosive melodies just won’t go away. Like running through the ice, their melodic chill is the burning flame of this release. Aside from the fact that their riffs are equal to other Black Metal acts, their channel blending is amazing and that’s what makes their riffs special. The best work of the two is definitely in the track “De Hodge”. Last is the bass player, Jochen, who has his share of glory around this release.

Natan presents a line of very good songs. What is sad is the fact that while all of them are very good and impressive, not all of them are capturing the mind and only some of them remain as the champions of this album. “De Hodge” is the best of all in this album with undeniable speediness, melodies with no end, particularly in the mid section of the song, great vocals with the feeling of Emperor. “Mijn Lot” is a great example for Folk Metal around this release and consists of acoustic guitars, violin and piano. “Grauwbaard’s Lied” is so devastating that it really gets you to your feet and lets you know what this release is all about. The self tilted song is another speedster with fast melodies and morbid cover of the syhth, just like on many Black Metal acts. “Velden Van Bloed” is a well constructed track with female vocals and nice tunes.

Natan’s first release can be highly credited as a good one in the Metal world and especially in the extreme Metal movement. Hopefully, their next release will be as good as and even better than this one. These guys had embraced the importance of strong melodies in Black Metal. Many new and old raw Black Metal acts should follow their lead.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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