15 Jan 2013

Nordland - Nordland [Full length] (2012, Glorious North Productions)

Black metal is one of the metal genres that has most run-of-the-mill bands in my opinion. Ever since Darkthrone and other similar bands basically wrote the 101 guide to simple black metal in the 90's thousands of people have tried their hand at creating music with minimal effort, and this has led to a plethora of incomplex, boring black metal bands, a lot of which are one-man projects. While Nordland is also a one-man effort, his straightforward style is more or less the exact opposite of run of the mill.

The eponymous first release of Nordland takes me back to when I first started listening to black metal. Those years ago it was albums such as Satyricon's Nemesis Divina and Dark Medieval Times, Marduk's Panzer Division Marduk and Nightwing and Gorgoroth's Destroyer that shaped my musical tastes, and Nordland - though the name brings Bathory's viking metal albums of the same name to mind - reminds me a lot of those bands in the way that it's simply plain black metal with no bullshit.

The production is sufficiently clean to allow for smaller details to come forth and provide the necessary variation so the music doesn't become tedious to listen to, much in the same way that the abovementioned albums do, and it makes the album sound immensely professional and immersive, which is rather astounding for a debut effort. The same discrete variations are what makes up the cold atmosphere that fills Nordland's debut and allow the tracks to be of such impressive length. Black metal traditionally consists largely of songs longer than 3 minutes, but Nordland's shortest track is about 5 minutes and 20 seconds, and the 7 tracks on the album makes it an hour long opus of classic semi-modern black metal.

Only rarely have I heard debut albums, especially within this genre, that sound so professional, and seldom have I listened to straight up black metal that features riffs as memorable as Nordland's. Like Vorh, the band's sole member, raspingly sings on Messenger of the Vortex Winds, "This is my land and I live here alone", Vorh has made black metal his domain and is one of the few newer one-man black metal bands worth listening to. 8/10 guitars.

1. Vorscara
2. Thule
3. Morth
4. Messenger of the Vortex Winds
5. Lords of the Great Dwelling
6. Nordland
7. Nord Uliima

NORDLAND official website
NORDLAND official facebook
Glorious North Productions official website

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