Nifelheim is a Swedish black metal band. The band was formed in 1990 by the twin brothers Erik and Per Gustavsson, under the stage names Tyrant and Hellbutcher and is known for their “old school” style of black metal.
Nifelheim was founded in 1990 and recorded the demo tape Unholy Death between 1992 and 1993. The band signed to Necropolis Records and recorded the debut album Nifelheim at Studio Fredman. During this period, the band fired their first guitarist Morbid Slaughter for having a girlfriend. After this, they were joined by John Zweetsloot and Jon Nödtveidt of Dissection on guitars. The band was banned from the studio.
In 1996, the band recorded the Vulcano cover “Witches Sabbat” with guest vocalist Goat (ex-Satanized) for the second Headbangers Against Disco split EP which also featured Usurper and Unpure, and the song “Hellish Blasphemy” for the Gummo soundtrack; the latter was re-recorded for the band’s second album, Devil’s Force, which featured Zweetsloot and Nödtveidt again.
After a documentary about heavy metal fans which aired in Sweden in 1998, Tyrant and Hellbutcher were given a nickname “Bröderna Hårdrock” which translates to ‘The Heavy Metal Brothers’ in English.
In 1998, Nifelheim contributed “Die in Fire” to the Bathory tribute album In Conspiracy with Satan – A Tribute to Bathory The band left Necropolis Records and recorded Servants of Darkness in March 2000, which was released through Black Sun Records. In 2001, the band played their first concert as headliner at the 2heavy4you festival in Sweden, followed by other concerts in Europe.
Nifelheim plays old-school black metal inspired by bands like Venom, Bathory, Brazilian thrash metal bands Vulcano, Holocausto and Sarcófago and Czech Republic’s Master’s Hammer. The influence of Iron Maiden is also evident in some arrangements.
The band’s lyrics treat Satanism and other topics typical for black metal. Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic claimed that “While many of the Norwegian black metal bands of the early 1990s were taking themselves so seriously that heinous acts of murder, church burnings, and the like wound up stealing more headlines than their actual music, Sweden’s Nifelheim were shrewdly still treating the genre’s Satanic silliness with the appropriate tongue-in-cheek tone. On the surface, this was illustrated by their cartoonish album covers and traditional black metal ‘uniform,’ consisting of the necessary leather and spikes, bullet belts, pentagrams, and inverted crucifixes.” Nifelheim rejected this characterization and cited it as a reason for ceasing to give interviews anymore.
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