Nordheim
Lost in the North

Based on my experience, Canada isn’t exactly a hot bed of epic viking folk metal. My only real  first hand experience of such a thing was Bolero‘s Voyage From Vinland, a surprisingly solid release in its own right. And here is Quebec’s Nordheim–who I actually thought might be Bolero on first listen–and their debut album, Lost in the North.

Originally self-released back in 2010 and now reissued by Maple Metal Records, Lost in the North delivers everything in very similar fashion to Bolero (who just changed their name to Vesperia)  and America’s own Hammer Horde or Blackguard; that’s to say very heavily Ensiferum/ Turisas/Equilibrium  influenced epic and melodic folk, viking metal with a bouncy black-ish power metal gait and lots of rousing synths, ‘Viking’ vocals and such.

Admittedly, Lost In the North doesn’t start so impressively with a couple of tracks that do little to rouse or inspire as the instrumental title track and “Nightborn” do little than rehash second tier Ensiferum leftovers with a sloppy energy. However, things do start to get better, and in the end the album ends up being a decent little slab of the genre. Certainly not a special act, and certainly not quite up to par with the bands mentioned above, but a fun little release nonetheless.

“Far Away” starts the albums improvement with a nifty mid-song chorus and stern march. But then “Beer, Metal, Trolls and Vomit!” really takes off with a super catchy, Korpiklaani-styled romp, and also shows that Nordheim have a little mischievous undercurrent in their cliched sound. Things make a more somber turn for “Promise to  the Gods”, which is a moody slower number. Then “Glorious March” delivers a varied but drawn out and slightly stale number. But as is par for the album, things pick right back up with the excellent seafaring  “Sailing the Drakkar”, and segues into “Old Crazy Man”, with another dash of humor and another high octane, bouncy catchy number.

The album closes with the duo of “Beyond the Howling North”, an majestic, anthemic number I picture as a popular live set closer, and “Blessing from the Stars” a rousing mid paced number I also envision as a popular live number. With these two tracks and the better tracks scattered around the album, Nordhiem show some potential in the genre and when they plant their tongue firmly in their cheek, they certainly fill a niche in the genre. I look forward to them developing and tightening up their sound a little more.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 10th, 2012

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