Thursday, 8 November 2012

Nordland - Nordland

Glorious North Productions 2012
1.Voscara 2.Thule 3.Morth 4.Messenger Of The Vortex Winds
5.Lord Of The Great Dwelling 6.Nordland 7.Nord Uliima
There’s a real sense of melancholy as ‘Voscara' slowly begins to crawl into life, an extremely creepy and eerie intro setting the tone perfectly before the black metal onslaught furiously spews forth in a hellish barrage. For all the savagery on display there is a real sense of melody to the music, melodically harsh. The Scandinavian influence apparent from the outset, harsh tremolo picked guitars are accompanied by simplistic, almost militaristic drumming and scathing, harsh and scornful screamed black metal vocals, apparently being belched from a tortured  individual, namely Vorg, the one man behind Nordland. Tempos range from a doom laden crawl to all out bestial blasting, and everything in between which all adds to the appeal and certainly adds variety (not a word commonly attached to harsh black metal of this nature). When tempos are slowed, windswept samples are introduced under the music which only adds to the atmosphere. An amazing opening track and as it draws to its atmospheric conclusion, those Kvlt Norwegians Kvist sprang to mind, Vorg producing something very similar in sound. ‘Thule’ begins in similar fashion to the opener, atmosphere introducing the track before all hell breaks loose in a barrage of bestial black metal blast beats and frenzied, but melodic lead guitar work. Again, tempos are varied to suit the guitar riffs perfectly. Unusually for this style of black metal, the bass really grinds through in the production and is more prominent in the faster sections, adding a really grimy, sludgy edge to a lot of the riffs. The sense of urgency being pursued in this track (as it ends) is enthralling, the guitar riffs are monstrous, picked at lightning speed with the devastating atmosphere being retained throughout, the track fading slowly away amongst a windswept themed sample.
Beginning in mid-paced territory, ‘Morth’ sounds slightly different to the two tracks before it, the chosen pace being used heavily throughout; rather than chopping and changing tempos, Vorg opting to stay in or around the same pace throughout the entire track which actually gives it more appeal, granting the listener something a bit different whilst retaining the familiar atmosphere and delivery of sound. Vocally, the delivery is very reminiscent of Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir fame; musically its opposite ends of the spectrum from Dimmu. Having said that, there is still the very heavy Scandinavian black metal feel to the band’s sound. A similar pace greets the opening to ‘Messenger Of The Vortex Winds’ with the barren windswept samples again being introduced to retain the cold, sparse and wintery atmosphere being created. The track begins to take on a really epic feel and sound, the harshness of the guitars and bass really adding to the bleakness of this track, the sense of despair really being brought to the fore. It’s almost as if Vorg is preparing for his own untimely demise and wants everyone to know about it, such is the atmosphere. There’s no let up in the punishing onslaught as ‘Lords Of The Great Dwelling’ spews forth its bile ridden message. Re-introduced are the faster blasting sections which when mixed with the more mid-paced approach sound amazingly brutal but which manage to retain the haunting atmospheres. The re-introduction of the faster pace is welcomed as it breaks from the suffocating melancholy so prevalent in the two previous tracks and it once again allows some harsh melodic riffs to lead the song to a dramatic and utterly brilliant conclusion. It’s all about worshipping at the altar of the Scandinavian black metal forefathers once again, and what a fitting tribute this is!
‘Nordland’ is the longest track on the entire album, being 11:41 you just know this is going to be another brilliant, yet punishing journey and Vorg has once again decided to implement the slower suffocating tempos which as ever, never lose the sense of harshness and melody, but instead drag you down into a pit of pure black metal hell, albeit a fucking extremely catchy one. There’s so much on offer in this track, it’s quite remarkable how quickly the time passes. You’re never allowed to get bored or wander off in a mire of normality, the music just doesn’t allow such behaviour. Ending with ‘Nord Uliima', a five minute ‘outro’ comprised of eerie samples and simple melodic guitars it’s a fitting end to an album that oozes atmosphere from every note, every hate filled scream. Coming from one man; as this album does, is testament to Vorg’s talent and ability to craft and create an utterly devastating album of atmospheric black metal of the highest order. Having reviewed some amazing black metal releases already this year, ‘Norldand’ sits right up there as being one of the best black metal releases of the year so far. The harsh, yet melodic atmospheres created throughout are utterly captivating, bordering on the epic. Heavily influenced by Scandinavian black metal, but no mere copycat, ‘Nordland’ is probably going to be as good a black metal album coming from the UK that you are likely to hear for quite some time. This comes very highly recommended.
9 out of 10

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