So, according to a recent post on Facebook Vorh is apparently tired of the constant Bathory-comparison as he claims there is no connection what so ever to the band and the Nordland I and II albums and that his main source of inspiration does not lie with Bathory. Fair enough I guess.
Vorh, the force behind Nordland, started the band in 2011, whereupon he promptly released the highly commendable and self-titled full length debut "Nordland". Vorh hails from the northeastern parts of the United Kingdom, an area that like most other parts of the UK has a damp and rainy climate. Historically the tidal island of Lindisfarne in this area is famous for being raided by vikings in the year 793, ushering in the Viking Age of Northern Europe.
Whether the sort of Bathory-esque viking tendencies on the True Cult of the Earth album is a coincidence is left to pure speculation, but the area's history and the fact that the name Nordland could well be taken from the two Bathory albums certainly suggest there being a correlation.
I lauded the eponymous album Nordland from 2011, giving it an 8/10 rating for its genuinely enjoyable composure and the way it sticks to the roots of black metal without merely copying them. A vast difference between the Nordland and the True Cult of the Earth albums is that while there was hardly any folky viking feelings leftover on the first album, these seem to have found their way unto the lates opus, although in very limited quantities.
Vorh's Nordland project issues 7 tracks on The True Cult of the Earth clocking in at a little over an hour in playtime. As such it is a pretty lengthy album with no songs under 5 minutes in length, and bravely starting out with the 13 minute monster The Great Hall of the Sky. This track among most of the others seem to favor the pondering tones of slow and well-tempered black metal, and in extention of this the guitarwork and groaning vocals of Vorh are equally ponderous, sometimes bordering on meandering.
It is the same wandering behaviour circling around the viking heritage of Bathory and other similar bands that gives Nordland a kind of hypnotic aspect that is hard to dislike, but it also creates a sense of not really... going anywhere. The True Cult of the Earth has a sound as naturalistic as the previous album but lacks the memorability that graced it. It's a bit unadventurous, but the recipe still works. The lyrics and the way the vocals drift around is still unmistakingly that of Nordland and as such recognizably different from other bands within the genre, and the guitars are faithfully interwoven with the varying drumtracks in the same way.
The True Cult of the Earth displays a traditional form of black metal that at the same time is removed from the almost religiously orthodox tyranny that many bands practice and enforce. It is this tenacity that Nordland primarily benefits from on this album, and it is by these means that the ends are met. 7/10 guitars.
1. The Great Hall of the Sky
2. Dawn Calling of Thunor
4. Heathen Lands
5. I Am the Winds of the Earth
6. A Mound to Lay my Bones Upon
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