Is this really Norther?,
This review is from: Dreams of Endless War (Audio CD)
Is this really Norther?
That was my initial reaction after listening to Dreams of Endless War.
Norther fan-boys and -girls will round up the torches and pitchforks when I say this, but I’ve always seen this band as a lowest-common-denominator kinda thing. They have all the basics of Finnish extreme power metal but lack the flair and complexity that makes a Kalmah, an Omnium Gatherum or a Wintersun. I’ve spent many a fun hour with Mirror of Madness and N, but nothing like my times with Swampsong or New World Shadows. Well, Dreams of Endless War has both flair and complexity, and it’s a shame the band didn’t continue down this road.
Overall, I would say this sounds like a combination of Tales of A Thousand Lakes by Amorphis and Walls of Jericho by Helloween; Tales from a Thousand lakes in the haunting melodies and quintessential Finnish atmosphere of gloom and doom and Walls of Jericho in its thrashy speed metal riffs, intertwining guitar parts and complexity (albeit with solely black metal vocals, of course). Although I wouldn’t really call this heavy, this is for me, the darkest and most aggressive Norther have ever been. It’s thrashy, its fast, it’s melodic and its just brilliant. While the band would go on two write simpler and more accessible songs, Dreams… is packed with time changes and slick riffing, even with some songs hitting the 6 minute mark effortlessly. Its also worth noting that several tracks, such as victorious one, have some strong baroque/theatrical influences that remind one of earlier Eternal Tears of Sorrow. Even the vocals, which tended to go the screechy cat route in later years, sound furious and demonic. Plus, the absence of the Gary Numen style cleans singing which reared its head on Till Death Unites US is a good thing.
Again, at the end of the day it is still Norther, and thus it’s not really original in innovative in any way. But blood brilliant is what it is. If you are a fan of the genre, go for it. You may find out that there’s more to Norther than the Bodom-clones many think they are. That said, if you’re not into this style, then I doubt this is the album to change your opinion.