From North – ‘From North’

Swedish Viking metal band From North now present their debut self titled album, released on September 1st, 2017, via Downfall Records. Their music is centred around heavy riffs, mediaeval instruments and Norse mythology inspired lyrics. All members are significantly musically experienced, with links to such bands as Items, Stormhold, Anata, Bleed For Me, Sinistry, Zero Illusions, Years Of Falling, etc.

Volund The Smith – Unusually mechanical intro, much like having entered a blacksmith’s yard, given the audible sounds. Soon moving into dark Viking metal, throwing a blanket of heaviness and vivid imagery of marauding Vikings and violent seascapes over the atmosphere. Impressive start, breathing instant life and energy into proceedings.

He Who Hates – Very appealing mediaeval style intro, beginning with light, airy sounds and rapidly turning darker, with strong, striking vocals. Short in length, but not in power. The combo of aggression and light works well, enabling imagination to do the rest.

Last Appeal – Banging, explosive intro there! Visually accessible, creative and well constructed. There’s a real strength about the audio values, the rhythm and arrangements and the mid-paced level of the song, combined with the mediaeval accompaniments allows ease of engagement with the track. Genuinely inspiring.

Ships Tale – Opening with a medium paced section, easing you into the flow of the track. Clearer lyrics here, demonstrating thoughtful inspirations and just as much power, with added grit. Unmistakably sexy. Lots of heavy drum involvement, almost tribal in its sound and fading out nicely, on a well-placed, aptly dark toned riff.

Mead Of Poetry – Gorgeous flute intro! Incorporating some gentle acoustic backing chords, then flowing, into a catchy, heavy head-banging section. Those riffs will get you and there’s a massive appeal to the whole track. Hooks aplenty, impressively rhythmic timing and so strongly visually evocative. It’s a class act and that’s it.

Sworn Brotherhood – Another booming intro, packed with vitality and energy. This time, however, softer vocals and riffs are introduced and it’s a truly beautiful sound. Carrying you away, on a floating raft of metal, increasing in volume and physicality, all the time. Startling to think it’s a debut, given the expertise and craftsmanship behind it. Exquisite production, facilitating real insight into the Viking theme.

The Sacred Oath – Just slowing the pace down a bit, with the intro of a gentler sound, with Celtic overtones. Real mastery of visual and audio imagery has been achieved. So impacting and intelligently created. The strength of the vocal capacity really comes into effect here, especially when combined with the lyrical messages and careful selection and use of instruments, to drive it home. It’s a deeply comforting listen and intriguingly reassuring, in its sound and its lyrics.

Ormr Inn Langi – Immediately arresting piccolo intro, flowing, so naturally, into a brilliantly energetic heavy section. An undeniable streak of genius underlies this album and it needs to be heard. Throughout the track, the piccolo intertwines and accompanies the staunchly heavy instrumentals, in such a fascinatingly workable way and the resulting sound is enthralling.

The Catch – Fantasy film soundtrack, eat your heart out. Now, it’s almost moving into operatic metal territory. Still, though, the overriding Viking touch remains. Storming through the track, in a sexily manly Viking-esque way, growing heavier and more intense, all the time – it’s a stunning track.

The Longest Wait – Throwing down the gauntlet, like a heavy-metal log. It’s another enlivener of a track, genuinely pushing past the boundaries of standard Viking fayre, whilst still retaining that identifiable sound that screams Viking metal). Ending on a similar falling log sound, to that with which it began.

From North – Once more, rocking that intensely appealing combo of light, woodwind instrumentals, hard and heavy-metal accompaniments and Celtic infused, Viking vocals, that works so brilliantly. Exciting, uplifting, enthused and driven. Releasing all the tension within you and replacing it with fresh, vibrant energy, you’ll feel the breath of new life, upon hearing ‘F.N’.

Overall – A mightily impressive storm trooper of an album, screaming ‘Viking’ through and through. Adding exuberantly performed mediaeval influences and Celtic flavours, to an already hugely successful album, it’s simply astounding that this is their debut and a sure sign of even greater things to come.

10/10 **********

For fans of Viking metal, such as In My Embrace, Pirate metal, such as Alestorm, folk metal, such as Tyr and Turisas, mediaeval metal, such as Satarial, Celtic metal and fantasy film soundtracks.

Release date 1st September 2017, via Downfall Records. Distributor –¬†Plastic Head.

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