|Review: Northland - Freezing Sadness|
Year released: 2007
Genre: Folk Metal
Review online: December 31, 2008
Reviewed by: Mike Henn
Have you ever heard of Ensiferum? You know, that mega popular Folk Metal band that so masterfully blends folk influences with Power Metal? If the answer is yes, then you may as well skip over Northland. Freezing Sadness is the name attached to this demo, and it's actually rather surprising that Northland remains unsigned. Ever since Ensiferum's cult popularity got so incredibly large, I figured that big name labels like Nuclear Blast or whatever would jump on this sound; and considering Freezing Sadness uses some of the exact same melodies as Iron and generally sounds like little more than a carbon copy of Ensiferum, Northland would logically be one of the first bands to be picked up. Nevertheless, here we are, knee deep in six Spaniards' pretentious foray into the sonic territory that a certain Finnish group opened up.
Nothing here is offensively bad, just really bland. I hate to keep comparing this to Ensiferum, but there really isn't much else to compare this to. The opening track, "Where the Heroes Die..." uses melodies heard on Ensiferum's "Into Battle" and even a few themes from Victory Songs. Whether this was intentional or not is completely up to the reader/listener to decide, but the resemblance is uncanny nonetheless. Fruity, bouncy keyboard melodies are strewn liberally over the top of some decent riffs and mediocre drumming, but they don't seem too out of place, so that's a plus. The subtle use of background choirs adds a nice atmospheric touch at times, but they never shut the fuck up, so they really lose their mystical quality quickly. The demo also stays at a fairly mid-paced tempo throughout the duration apart from "Warriors of Ice" and parts of "The Awakening", which really pick up the pace. I also feel it deserves mention that the production is fairly okay for a band's first demo. The vocals are mixed kind of high and the guitar is a really bad distortion sound, but it's not terrible. This isn't necessarily bad, just... there. Freezing Sadness works as a decent fix for fans of the Power/Folk Metal style, but it won't open any new doors for established fans nor newcomers.
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