Nomans Land - The Last Son Of The Fjord review
|Album:||The Last Son Of The Fjord|
01. The Last Son Of The Fjord
02. The Swan Road
03. Back Home
04. The Call Of Ancestors
05. Nomans Land
06. Two Fathers
07. In The Skin Of A Bear
Nomans Land are one of Russia's most well-known Viking Metal bands, and deservedly so considering the masterpiece their second album "Hammerfrost" was. And because their debut album "The Last Son Of The Fjord" was hardly available anymore, their new label re-released it and spiced it up with a whole live show as multimedia bonus.
First of all there is to say "The Last Son…" is not "Hammerfrost". In the five years between the two albums a lot has changed in the band's sound, mostly due to the addition of second vocalist Wild contrasting Sigurd's epic clean vocals who just wasn't part of the lineup in 2000 yet. While "Hammerfrost" sounds like a somewhat typical Viking Metal album, "The Last Son…" offers much less; but often less is more! Also in this case? Let's see…
In fact one could describe "The Last Son…" as minimalist Viking Metal, containing everything Viking Metal needs to have, but nothing more: no growls, no screams, no folk instruments, no keyboards, no Black Metal elements. Instead it has lengthy guitar passages playing filigree tunes reminiscent of folk music and Sigurd's clean vocals creating a very epic feeling, reminding me a bit of Vintersorg in his "Till Fjälls" days, but with more pathos, less emotion and a not insignificant Russian accent. The lack of Black Metal elements is quite understandable, seeing as the band doesn't have its roots in Black or Folk Metal like most Viking/Pagan Metal bands, but rather in Doom Metal. This in turn results in relatively slow compositions that never leave the mid-tempo realms throughout the whole album. Combined with the aforementioned minimalism this results in a lack of variety making the whole album rather homogenous and, dare I say, boring at times. Considering that the band has three musicians plucking the strings, this is rather a disappointment, as the guitar lines could've been more multi-layered, just like they are on "Hammerfrost".
Nonetheless "The Last Son…" is a remarkable album. The filigree guitar lines are fun listening to and Sigurd's vocals are pure ear-candy. Seeing that the album doesn't have much more to offer than these two outstanding elements, it is noticeable, that Nomans Land still manage to create an atmosphere that is above average in regards of pathos and density in the realms of Viking and Pagan Metal. Problem is that these elements are also prevalent on "Hammerfrost", so that wouldn't be a serious incentive to invest some money into "The Last Son…."
Another incentive might be the multimedia part though. It contains a complete concert recorded in Saint Petersburg in January 2005, which extends the material on this CD by another 45 minutes! The setlist of that concert contains only new songs, i.e. 6 songs from "Hammerfrost" and 3 yet unreleased songs. Unfortunately the multimedia part wasn't included on the promo I received, so I cannot really make an evaluation of it. But getting 8 "Last Son..." songs, 6 live "Hammerfrost" songs and 3 as of yet unreleased live tracks for the price of one CD seems like a good bargain indeed!
All in all the re-release of "The Last Son..." is a cheap package of some decent Viking Metal. If you want to get to know Nomans Land from their best side, I'd still recommend "Hammerfrost". But if you like Viking Metal and aren't too fond of harsh vocals, if you already own their second album or if you just want to spend your money on CD's with enough content to justify their price, then you should really give "The Last Son Of The Fjord" a try.
Best songs: "The Call Of Ancestors", "Two Fathers"
"The Last Son Of The Fjord" (mp3)
"Triumph Of Winter" (avi, 39 MB)
"Lord Of The Seas" (avi, 32 MB)
||Written on 16.06.2006 by Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.|
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