Norther
N


3.0
good

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
February 25th, 2008 | 68 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Everybody's favourite Children of Bodom clones release a surprisingly decent album.

If the last couple years have shown us anything it's that the Children of Bodom standardized power-metal-with-harsh-vocals formula is going increasingly stagnate. Each of the genre's biggest bands – that being Bodom, Kalmah, and Norther, among others – have not been able to follow up early successes like Follow the Reaper or They Will Return. As result, painstakingly mediocre records such as Hate Crew Deathroll, The Black Waltz, and in Norther's case, Till Death Unites Us, have not really impressed this metal fan at all. Considering that Norther in particular never caught my interest apart from a couple songs here and there on their Mirror of Madness, I wasn't particularly looking forward to the group's latest record, N. So I was rather surprised when the album turned out to be a rather decent effort on Norther's part.

Musically, N isn't a particularly ambitious output. The music is a little less keyboard based, instead revolving itself around heavy, mid-to-fast paced riffage from guitarists Perti Lindroos and Kristian Ranta akin to –sigh– Children of Bodom's later works. But I guess you'd be setting yourself up for disappointment if you expected anything different. Fortunately, it isn't musicianship which makes N listenable. The album is a step up from the likes of Till Death Unites Us and Mirror of Madness because the band as a whole has improved on pretty much every front. The melodic wankfests are toned down for the most part, paving way for a more balanced, mature musical assault – see Frozen Angel. The keyboards take on an atmospheric role in a way which at times reminds of Dark Tranquillity, particularly in Tell Me Why and My Antichrist.

If N had a standout track, it would be the amusingly egotistic We Rock. A fist pumping anthem, the track will definitely be a crowd pleaser in the near future, and considering its quality, hopefully for a rather long time. One of the stronger numbers in Norther's discography, We Rock is built around chugging riffs that, though quite simplistic, maintain an energetic atmosphere that outshines the rest of N's material. The lyrics – "We rock! / The way we live is our way / So lets get loud and say what we say" – isn't quite as inspiring as Norther probably intended. But it fits the rousing feel of the song well enough that I'm not complaining anyway. Also notable on Norther's fifth album is the ballad, If You Go. Making Children of Bodom's token ballad Angels Don't Kill look silly, the song is a tranquil offering which gives listeners a welcome change from the aggressive overtones of the record's other tracks. Keyboardist Tuomas Planman does an exceptional job in this track, producing a sound which gives off both an atmospheric flare as well as a lead role which, along with Kristian Ranta's clean singing, controls the flow of the song.

Norther's latest album isn't without fault, however. The record falls into the same pitfalls that its predecessors and contemporaries fail to overcome. N is extremely repetitive, with nearly every song following a similar structure. That many of the songs sound the same, coupled with the fact that N is forty-eight minutes makes for a somewhat difficult listen at times, as do some of the record's unfortunately stale riffs (see Self-Righteous Fuck). But overall, N is a good album for what it is. The strongest recording Norther has released over the last few years, arguably ever, it provides listeners with a decent slab of thrashy power metal. Nothing more, however, so don't get too excited over it.



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user ratings (118)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
February 25th 2008


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty strong 3

Digging: Grimes - Visions

BallsToTheWall
February 25th 2008


44669 Comments


I love We Rock and Frozen Angel is good as well. I plan on getting this, since I don't currently own any Norther albums. Good review.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

Yazz_Flute
February 25th 2008


18812 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I want this. Mirror of Madness owned.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2008


16440 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I really want this as well, the review gave me a better feeling on what this will sound like.

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

jrowa001
February 25th 2008


8750 Comments


i tried listening to this but i couldnt help but turn it off or skip to next song within a minute

ZapatoDiablo
February 25th 2008


167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agree with the rating, good review too. There are a few duds here, like all Norther albums, but I think the good moments are some of Norther's best, and the clean vocals by Ranta are the best they've ever been. They have also progressed skill-wise on their instruments about tenfold since the early records. Still not the biggest fan of Petri's vocals though.

Aeksis8745
February 25th 2008


448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Has this been released in the US yet?

Pebster49
February 25th 2008


2993 Comments


These guys are fun, but kinda hard to take serious, lol

Ire
February 25th 2008


41804 Comments


This might be a 3.5, this is great release but is pretty repetitive like mike said.

SynGates
February 26th 2008


2467 Comments


Probably won't pick this up. Good review nonetheless.

TheStarclassicTreatment
February 26th 2008


2910 Comments


My dad got this today, decent stuff

Inflames
February 26th 2008


635 Comments


I'll tell one of my friends about this band...he's into repetitive power metal.

:D

Wizard
February 26th 2008


19524 Comments


Excellent review Mikesn.
This album sounds really boring (probably because you compare them alot to CoB). I will check it out anyways.

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

whatduffhuck7
February 26th 2008


163 Comments


wow didnt know they had a new release.

I've gotten out of the who CoB, kalmah, norther stage in my life though.

Ire
February 26th 2008


41804 Comments


But they barely sound like cob anymore.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 26th 2008


7926 Comments


I always thought they were a better version of CoB's mid-era albums, but considering how awful CoB is I guess that isn't saying much. Might check this out, probably wont. Good stuff though.

Mikesn
Emeritus
February 26th 2008


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah this is pretty much better than anything CoB has done in 7 or 8 years. I don't think you'd like it though.

but kinda hard to take serious, lol
Just a little

Tyler
Emeritus
February 26th 2008


7926 Comments


I had a Norther album I sort of liked but I think you're right.

combustion07
February 26th 2008


5376 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Good review, I've been wanting this for awhile now.

Eakflanderyof
February 27th 2008


2143 Comments


Wow, these song names are like Marilyn Manson meets COB and that's not a good thing.

Anyway, the band has a couple of decent songs, but most suck. Death Unlimited is a fairly good song and Mirrors of Madness is decent. I heard Frozen Angel a while back, though, and I thought it was terrible. If memory serves me correctly, it sounded like some cheesy power ballad from the 80s.

I definitely don't think these guys are as good as Bodom either. Well, some of their stuff may be better than AYDY, but that's as far as I would go.



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