Norther - N
Spinefarm Records
12 songs ()
Release year: 2008
Norther, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Chris

Norther's fifth album to date is here. Did the band continue to streamline their sound to please the masses like the previous album seem to show, or do they come back to the old Norther, the Norther that (to me) reached an incredibly high level (almost paroxysmic) from their first attempt and unbelievable debut album Dreams of Endless War.

Well, the answer is somewhere in the middle I guess. There is no doubt the band will never even attempt to recreate their debut, where the majesty of melodies was a dream come true for a fan of melodeath as well as epic power metal, a style omni-present in their first two albums. But that's too bad cause they rocked in what they did with their debut, and every album since then seems to have been one more step away from what was pretty perfect, and definitely more original than what they do now (in my opinion of course). This album reminds me more of Death Unlimited than the previous, quite disappointing Till Death Unites Us. Back are more melodic guitars and keys arrangements, for an overall ballsy, heavy but mostly melodic release. The typical harsh and clean vocals of Kristian Ranta are still as aggressive and soothing respectively, balanced and as always pleasant for the ones who like this types of vocals of course. I'm less and less into melodeath than I was 4-5 years ago, but its a style I still appreciate, and Norther vocals are one of my favorites in this style (with Children of Bodom, In Flames, and my all-time favorite melodeath act Wintersun). The songs presented here are a nice mix of heavy, some fast and mostly mid-tempo melodeath songs. The clean vocals are soothing, but sometimes they sound too generic and maybe too commercial somehow. I still prefer the harsh part of Norther's vocals, and really miss the 100% harsh and ultra melodic, fast and furious rhythm and pace of the debut. The "new" Norther is a bit too square, and too "slow" in my opinion. Guitar wise, some awesome melodic riffs to be found, and some great solos too, like in the second track Frozen Angel or the faster We Rock. Production and sound is top notch and the overall sound is well mixed and balanced. After having listen to this album at least ten time I must admit that its definitely a good one, though it seems that most of the songs blend a bit too much into the mold, and I have to look at the track names to recognize a song. Not a big deal but it shows that the band sound is pretty much fixed and that there isn't much new things to grasp on to. But then a song like Always & Never comes and kicks me in the nuts with its great guitar and keys riffs aggression, heavy drumming and great aggressiveness overall, showing me that Norther still got it, its just its not as consistent as it used to be (debut and most parts of the following two albums). Still, if the band could deliver more songs like it wouldn't hurt :).

There is no doubt than fans of the band will like this album, its better than their previous release, its tighter, more melodic (but imho still needs to get much MORE melodic, but I can't decide for the band, its just my 2 cents here), and the album is enjoyable from the first to the last song, with no fillers. While new fans could check out Norther with this album, they should also in my opinion check the band's previous albums, namely the first three. And people who only listen to a selected few melodic death albums, I'm thinking people who love Power Metal and tolerate Children of Bodom as one of the only band of the genre they can stomach, should definitely check the debut of Norther, no doubt that there isn't another album as majestically melodic and aggressive while retaining most of the best lessons one can learn from epic power metal... just like Wintersun's debut, Dreams of Endless War is a pure gem that will stand the test of time. Overall a great album with some great tunes, tight guitar work and vocals, but a little on the slow side, except of course songs like We Rock, Always & Never, Tell Me Why and few others, but the album would have been more memorable in my opinion if it contained more songs of this caliber and less mid-tempo based songs. A good album, nothing spectacular, but a pretty good album still.

Killing Songs :
We Rock, Always & Never, Tell Me Why & Self-Righteous Fuck.
Chris quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Norther that we have reviewed:
Norther - Circle Regenerated reviewed by Tony and quoted 54 / 100
Norther - No Way Back reviewed by Chris and quoted 62 / 100
Norther - Till Death Unites Us reviewed by Kayla and quoted 69 / 100
Norther - Death Unlimited reviewed by Jay and quoted 87 / 100
Norther - Mirror of Madness reviewed by Jay and quoted 81 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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