Bathory - Nordland I review
|Release date:||November 2002|
04. Dragons Breath
05. Ring Of Gold
06. Foreverdark Woods
07. Broken Sword
08. Great Hall Awaits A Fallen Brother
09. Mother Earth Father Thunder
All male nine by nine hanging, gently swaying in the wind…
It's cold, and you are walking alone through the primeval forest of what will become modern day Sweden. The sounds of your footfalls are broken by the soft creaking of rope on wood. You step into a ring of torches, casting flickering shadows upon the base of a mighty Ash tree. From the great tree's branches hang the lifeless forms of men, horses, dogs, and a mighty ox. The moonlight smiles down on the grim scene laid before you. You fall to your knees and offer your own blood, a sacrifice for the return of the Sun. This is what Nordland I is about, Viking imagery plain and simple.
The first chapter in Quorthon's unfinished magnum opus stands as an immortal testament to abilities as both a musician and lyricist. One cannot help feeling slightly swept up in the grandeur and majesty of "Nordland." With its forever dark woods, and pristine lakes, "Nordland's" scenery seems right out of the pages of a fantasy novel. Musically, each track just feels right. The guitars are slightly muddy in the typical Bathory fashion, but lay down those slowly chugging riffs that set the tone perfectly on tracks like "Vinterblot," or kicks it into overdrive for epic "Broken Sword." Despite great guitar work, Quorthon's vocals are still the magical glue that holds everything together. His voice is both beautifully haunting, like in "Ring of Gold," and strong as a battle worn broadsword. Nordland I is a return to Hammerheart-esque days, and is a clear improvement over Destroyer of Worlds. This being said, not all is so perfect in Nordland. All tracks fit well, with the exception of "Dragon's Breath" which just doesn't seem to click with that overarching Nordic theme expressed throughout the rest of the album. While the rest of the tracks sound excellent, most leave the listener just wanting more. Not that it's a bad thing, just that with the exception of "Nordland" and "Vinterblot," Nordland I's strength lies in the thematic expression across the whole album rather than focusing on stand out tracks. All in all a great album, not one that reaches out and grabs you by the throat, but takes you on an epic journey that can only be appreciated when listened to from start to finish. So jack in, chill out, and set sail for Nordland.
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