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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The King of Viking Metal Returns!, 24 Dec. 2002
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This review is from: Nordland Vol.1 (Audio CD)
After a few wild departures into hardcore grunge and death metal in recent years, Bathory makes a return to his most powerful sound...the pagan, Viking-opera style created on 'Blood, Fire Death' and tempered on 'Hammerheart' and 'Twilight'. However, this new album (is it the 1st of several, as the title suggests 'Nordland 1'?) owes more to his later effort 'Blood on Ice', with quieter vocals and a less epic, but still lovingly-structured, sound. There are a few stylistic nods to latter-day Burzum in the music, I think, but this is no bad thing... the most easily accessible track is 'The Broken Sword', a gallopping stormcloud of a song which seems to give a passing hail to Manowar...all in all, a glorious return to that which Bathory does best! Can't wait for the sequel :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IMMORTAL MUSIC!, 1 May 2008
By 
Adam Jackson (Stoke On Trent , England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nordland Vol.1 (Audio CD)
Cant speak highly enough of this - basically a one man band project, this is an album that transcends its modest budget to create an epic piece of work. Defined as Viking Metal this tackles the subject with a reverence that only a native Scandinavian could muster. Bands like Manowar from the USA flirt with the genre but cannot reach this level of sincerity. Quorthon, one of Black Metal's founding fathers, leaves the confines of his roots to create a masterpiece of atmosphere & mood. Responsible for all vocals, guitars & bass (not sure about the drums, they could be a drum machine BUT they sound natural) he weaves a series of Wagnerian Metal masterpieces so evocative that you can see the mountains, clouds, ice & dragon boats so beautifully described here!
There are moments of all out thrash and acoustic passages/folkish interludes that would grace the cult folk of The Wicker Man, melodic solos and brutal metallic riffs and symphonic keyboards and choral backing ala Dimmu Borgir. Quorthon invests real emotion & feel into his vocals rarely if ever descending into screams or grunts. The lyrics depict tales of Midgard that could almost be told as Quorthon's personal recollections.
Revel in the sound of horses, streams, thunder and battle - its all sampled here & integrated perfectly into the music. Theres very much a semi-conceptual tone.
The production is decent & overall one can only feel saddened that this most enigmatic of artists had his life cut so short in 2004.
Highlights
PRELUDE - short symphonic instrumental,ominous,almost cinematic.
NORDLAND - sets the standard to come.
RING OF GOLD - Beautiful acoustic chords & haunting vocals.
BROKEN SWORD - Deceptiveley gentle intro and then furious guitar/drums
The albums fastest track.
MOTHER EARTH, FATHER THUNDER - Massive, all conquering, Battle March!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a thoroughly enjoyable metal experience, 29 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Nordland Vol.1 (Audio CD)
The thing that first strikes me about this album is how little attention is paid to the amazing title track.This is an amazingly melodic and powerful anthem which,coupled with its instrumental "prelude" surely cements this as the albums best offering.Owning a lot of Bathory's work, i would say that this most certainly features in their(his) top 5 songs. That shouldn't take away anything from the rest of the album though.
Being a concept album, some may avoid this like the plague,but with a master musician like quorthon at the helm,this is an album not to be missed.Songs like "broken sword" and "great hall awaits a fallen brother" bring a welcome reminder of Quorthon's lyrical genius.A must have album.
Best track:As mentioned NORDLAND.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bold, Beautiful and Heavy Slab of Viking Metal, 14 May 2011
By 
Paul WJM (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nordland Vol.1 (Audio CD)
As everyone knows, Bathory pretty much created the Viking Metal sub-genre with the powerhouse Hammerheart album (foreshadowed with Blood Fire Death), further developing the music with Twilight of the Gods spinner, which has dated slightly more but still contains some amazing pieces. What followed was a wayward period where Quorthon released a couple of respectable (but undesirable from the real hardcore fan's perspective) solo albums, some aggressive thrash outings, the slightly underwhelming Blood on Ice album, plus some of the worst material the man had ever put out (most of Destroyer of Worlds springs to mind). But the wait was worth it.

Nordland returns to the style of Hammerheart and Twilight with a variety of approaches to the whole Viking Metal idea, encapsulating such themes in its lyrics and presenting some of the best music Quorthon ever put on disc. After a fairly average intro (not up there with Oden's Ride Over Nordland, or Rider at the Gate of Dawn) Nordland (the song itself) is a plodding metal piece with a number of good riffs. This track bored me into not wishing to listen to it for a number of years but recently after a revisit it's actually grown on me. Vinterblot sounds like a group of vikings singing some chant during a dragonboat sail, with a driving metal rhythm to back it - an enjoyable track. Dragon's Breath is the low point of the album - a great riff is spoiled by some messy vocals (something that afflicted a number of Bathory tracks from album 5/6 onwards, which is strange given the fact that other tracks were incredibly well sung), and a track I rarely listen to. Ring of Gold is a nicely played acoustic track that steps into Song to Hall Up High territory.

Then comes the album's crowning achievement (in my opinion): Foreverdark Woods. Beginning with a nice litte reference to One Rode to Asa Bay, this features some incredible intertwining of acoustic instrument and metal guitars, with a great distant vocal style to boot. What a fantastic track! Broken Sword kicks your butt into gear with a fast paced driving beat and anthemic singing, sandwhiched with the contrast of relaxing acoustics. Great Hall Awaits A Fallen Brother features, surprisingly, a near Black Metal sounding guitar, giving us an epic track with brilliant vocal delivery, taking you off into a strange world. Mother Earth Father Thunder is a powerful, noisy and strong finale to the album's sung tracks, yielding to the outro that is the wonderfully stirring Heimfard.

Whilst there's not much here to remind one of the first four Bathory albums, this one was a real return to form (though I don't particularly favour adopting that over-used term) and remains a great listen nearly ten years later. Some of this success was repeated with Nordland 2, but this album remains the last great Bathory album and an important part of any metal fan's collection (well at least those who love Bathory and/or Viking/Epic/Power Metal anyway).
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Nordland Vol.1
Nordland Vol.1 by Bathory (Audio CD - 2002)
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