If you’ve heard of Norther before, I’m sure you’ve heard, in some form or another, that they’re Children of Bodom clones. Regardless of how true you think that is, they’re still a very talented band who can churn out some great music. Dreams Of Endless War
is their debut album, released in 2002, where the CoB influences are most prominent.
This is the album that started the whole ‘CoB clone’ deal. Harsh vocals, flashy lead guitar work, frequent use of keyboards…you know the deal. But there are differences between the two. These consist of two separate lead guitars (in CoB it’s just Alexi, so the solos/leads can sound quite samey), the icy atmosphere Norther’s music has (more on this later) and the higher pitched, more consistent vocals. This album does remind me of CoB, but because of the differences stated above, it never sounds too
similar to them.
The thing that stands out most about Dreams Of Endless War
is the excellent guitar work. Petri Lindroos and Kristian Ranta alternate lead and rhythm duties, and honestly, they'd be in the top 10 for twin lead/rhythm guitarists in Metal here. The riffs are complex, heavy and melodic, and they never let up – even in the verses you’ll catch the guitarists laying down something crazy (see 'Released'). These riffs are omnipresent (except solos), and are one of the best aspects of the album. On the other hand, the solos are shredded at incredibly high speeds, and they’re simply blistering. They don’t get too samey due to the fact they alternate between both axe-wielders, and the durations of the solos are very good (they’re never too short or too long). There aren’t any definite standout tracks in this department to note; the guitars are consistently excellent throughout this album.
The rest of the band is solid too. Earlier I mentioned the ‘icy’ atmosphere Norther’s music gives off. This is courtesy of keyboardist Tuomas Planman, who hits a note and holds it for a few seconds, then does the same with another note, and so on (kinda hard to explain…you’ll know when you hear it). He’s not just there to create atmosphere though, as he does get some time to solo along with the guitarists. His best track is 'Dream', where the atmospheric stuff in the verses sounds great, as does the closing solo. The vocals are great; Petri Lindroos’ voice is just so consistent. He’s similar to Alexi Laiho (except a bit higher in pitch), yet never has an awkward moment and remains 100% brutal throughout the whole album. His voice fits the lyrics (about what the album title suggests) very well too. The rhythm section isn’t anything to write home about, but they do a fine job.
What about the songs themselves" Here’s a brief breakdown of them:
Darkest Time – My favourite track on the album. It’s like a great CoB song (say, Follow The Reaper) but longer (6 minutes in length), so more awesomeness.
Last Breath – This track has the least vocals in. A good exhibition for the guitarists - loads of great solos and breakdowns.
Released – As previously mentioned, the verses have a sweet riff in them. There’s no main solo section, so when the guitar and keyboards come in to solo at the end it’s pure ecstasy.
Endless War – This is my least favourite track, it’s just too long. At 7 minutes in length, the lack of a solo really makes it drag on. It has some good riffs though.
Dream – Great song. It sounds similar to the others, yet still comes out slightly different, due to a crazy keyboard solo closing.
Victorious One – I think the drums at their best here - furious double bass and blast beats throughout. This also has one of the album’s best choruses, due to a SWEET riff in the background.
Nothing Left – More great riffs…another great song. Like in Released, it has awesome riff in the verse. Ends and fades into The Last Night.
The Last Night – A 2 minute instrumental consisting of just piano and Winter-like noises.
There’s also a cover of The Final Countdown, which is very average. I don’t like it closing the album (The Last Night should have been the end), not a good way to finnish (pun intended) the album.
- A very fun listen
- Fantastic guitar work
- Never too over-the-top
- Everything works well
- May sound a bit CoB like for some