Norther - Circle Regenerated
Century Media
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (43:59)
Release year: 2011
Norther, Century Media
Reviewed by Tony

Here it is. Norther’s first album following the departure of vocalist and guitarist Petri Lindroos to Ensiferum. As a fan of both bands, I cannot say I am scorned by the decision. At least not like Cavaliers fans when LeBron left for my Heat. Losing Lindroos creates an allusion to Children of Bodom if they lost Alexi Laiho. Both contest for the limelight in a limited but excellent Finnish Melodic Death Metal scene, one which is oft times overshadowed by their Swedish mates to the West. Petri was the captain of the team, the stalwart and leader, and the chief songwriter. So the question is: can Norther survive without Petri, and can they find their way atop the Finnish Melo-Death scene without losing direction? The answers are yes, and no. While this album off the bat does not grip me like Dreams of Endless War did earlier in the Winter time when I appropriately listened to them for the first time, it could have stood firmer if not for the blatant push for Progressiveness and their overuse of what could have made this album unique. The first thing one notices as the album immediately finds a scorching start with the opener, Through it All, is that the vocals and strings largely do not change. However, in many portions through the first few tracks, there are clean vocals of all types. High pitched, low pitched, female, gang vocals. They have really experimented and pushed the limit with what they could get away with vocally.

The new vocalist in his harsh state is in a much less Blackened position than Petri. His vocals sound more strained, like that of a hardcore vocalist. His vocals are listenable at first, but they get more and more dreadful as the album goes on. Petri’s vocals flowed smoothly off the tongue with the same effortless Black Metal styling reminiscent of Abbath, or Sture from Vreid. The guitar solos very much still are the highlight for Norther. There is a fantastic solo which briefly flies through the first track, and another dueling piece that punctuates Truth. There is just not enough aggression, not enough power, there are fast moments, but too many slow. Believe sounds encouraging. There are a few heavy riffs which lead into one of those strictly vocals with chords stricken briefly verses. Once again, this verse would be better with Petri. One cannot put aside the importance Petri had on Norther. Both bands were excellent, Norther and Ensiferum, but the addition of Petri made From Afar a masterpiece, leaving Norther still reeling from his loss.

It is not necessarily fact that the rest of the band suffers from Petri’s absence, everyone performs admirably, but the void in which Petri left hurts. Similarly to when Dan Marino retired and left us with a cavalcade of awful quarterbacks in Miami. Norther tried too hard here it seems to create meaningful, heart full songs, without looking at what their two best albums brought. Dreams of Endless War and Death Unlimited were NOTHING like this. There were slow parts sure, but the ferocity, the skill, and the attitude was what at times rose Norther to the pinnacle of Finnish Melodic Death Metal. If you have not yet noticed, I normally listen to the album as I am in the process of reviewing it, to keep sharp and notice key points to pen. The further you read in this review, the more annoyed I get with the boredom of it all.

The clean vocals were interesting at first, but when EVERY SINGLE SONG has a bridge or chorus with mellow clean vox it gets old fast. This is not the kind of music that can afford to be formulaic, like Brutal Death Metal. Melodic Death Metal takes as much ferocity as it does melody. It sounds more like a poor attempt to be Sonata Arctica on The Days of Grays. That album, was excellent. Perhaps if this new look Norther tried to emulate the Ecliptica era they would be more successful. This is just stale, forced, and boring. Where is the speed? Where is the passion? Where is Petri!?!?! Circle Regenerated has its moments, but it never stands close to their best, and has not a single track that can run with their finest.

Killing Songs :
Through it All
Tony quoted 54 / 100
Chris quoted 8X / 100
Other albums by Norther that we have reviewed:
Norther - N reviewed by Chris and quoted 77 / 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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There are 6 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:53 pm
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