ARMNATT - Immortal Nature - CS
Formed in days and times too clandestine to recall, Armnatt quickly became a touchstone for Portugal's still-ascendant/descendent raw black metal scene. With their first split coming courtesy of the well-respected Black Gangrene in 2013 and then their debut album, Darkness Times, arriving a year later courtesy of the equally respected Altare, Armnatt's cachet was confirmed. And for good reason: the misty-yet-hateful surge the trio conjure speaks of a deeply held (and authentically created) understanding of black metal's epochal second wave.
In 2020, Armnatt made a blood pact with Signal Rex, which resulted in their second album, Dense Fog, and a long-overdue reissue of Darkness Times. Considering Signal Rex's position as Portugal's premier dispensary of dark & lawless goods, the alignment was fortuitous, to say the very least, and in June 2021 resulted yet another full-length assault on the meek and modest: Eternal Flame.
Dependable, intractable, a year later arrives Armnatt's fourth album, Immortal Nature. With yet another simple-yet-elegant title serving as a rallying cry, Immortal Nature bursts and bubbles with that ever-studious primitivism that only Armnatt can deliver. If Eternal Flame saw Armnatt sticking to their guns - no progression, no development, no compromise, no way - then surely, Immortal Nature will disappoint you or even offend. It's another (HYPNOTIC) spell of destruction, but one that subtly reveals new twists; whether it's a strangely hummable segment otherwise at odds with "black metal" or more (very relatively) variety of tempos employed or even a scuzzier, more muscular guitar tone, it all still sounds like Armnatt. Which means that Immortal Nature's familiarity is almost deceptive, as if in fact a lost relic unearthed from a Bergen bunker decades later: to overstate the obvious, this literally searing simplicity of design can be replicated endlessly, but never faked.
And to add further overstatement, black metal never needed to develop because it was perfect early on. Dependably, intractably, Armnatt again resist change and the ever-shifting sands of "good taste," and paint their own Dorian Gray with Immortal Nature.