I was first made aware of the word “Nidrosian” by contemporary Black Metal artisans, Mare (Spheres Like Death, Terratur Possessions, 2010). Their orthodox Scandinavian sound is not what caught my ear, rather their ritualistic soundscapes, which invoked the thoughts of medieval black masses. Mare’s entire aesthetic is enchanting to the proponent of the dark arts. Their live performances are an otherworldly experience in itself, combing sonic assault with arcane visual enchantment. Truly an impious experience.
Unbeknownst to me, there was an entire scene of Nidrosian bands awaiting my discovery.
Geographical sub genres and their particular sounds are not uncommon to extreme music. The New York Hardcore scene, H8000 (Belgian Hardcore), the Norwegian Black Metal scene, Les Légions Noires (French underground black metal) are just a fraction of the many sub-genres. Each scene has their own common denominator with respect to sound. Nidrosian Black Metal is no different.
Trondheim was originally named Kaupangen by the Viking King Olav Tryggvason in 997, and was the capital of Norway until 1217. It was renamed Nidaros during medieval times and again from 1930-1931, when Trondheim became its most current name, where Nidrosian Black Metal bands call home. The former Viking capital city is no stranger to black metal history. The Nidaros Cathedral is featured on the cover of Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album. Coincidentally, there was an alleged plot to blow up the Cathedral by Varg Vikernes and Euronymous.(1)
The term “Nidrosian Black Metal” was first created around 2004, when “Norwegian Black Metal started plummeting, yet labels and people all over praised everything coming from this country. We didn’t want to be associated with that so we took a step back and just minded our own business, so to speak.”- says Ole A. Aune, owner of Terratur Possessions, a record label based out of Trondheim.
Nidrosian bands have been able to find a home with Terratur Possessions. They are the proverbial keeper of the gate into the world of the Nidrosian scene and have been releasing records since 2006.
Terratur Possessions orchestrates a biennial Nidrosian Black Mass Festival since 2007, which showcases Nidrosian bands in addition to international acts such as Satanic Warmaster, Sargeist, Urfaust, Black Witchery, and MGLA. The festival has historically been held in Trondheim, but NBM IV in 2013 was held in Brussels.
The Nidrosian collective includes the bands Mare, Kaosritual, One Tail One Head, Dark Sonority, Vemod, Sarath, Selvhat, Celestial Bloodshed and Black Majesty. Each band brings to the table their own unique flavor, all the while maintaining the cold, dark sound that second wave Norwegian Black Metal bands are known for.
Nidrosian bands have also had their share of loss. In 2009, Celestial Bloodshed’s vocalist, Steingrim Torson’s life came to an unfortunate end by succumbing to an accidental gunshot wound (2). Celestial Bloodshed’s final recordings were released on Terratur Possessions.
The Nidrosian Black Metal scene has thrived since its inception and there is no sign of slowing down. Mare’s Spheres of Death was re-released compiled with their 2007 EP Throne of The Thirteenth Witch on12” vinyl and released by Terratur Possessions. The label has since expanded their virtually sold-out catalog and has recently opened a US online store.
Nidrosian Black Metal is a unique approach to Black Metal and an accurate demonstration of homage to the Black Metal bands of old. I am yet to come across a Nidrosian band that I have not liked and looking forward to hear what is to come in the future.