|Review: Draugnim - Northwind's Ire|
Label: Spikefarm Records
Year released: 2008
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: January 6, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (12 Votes)
As a music lover I feel that one of the sweetest treats you can have is discovering a new band or album that completely blows you away. The treat is even sweeter if it's a debut as this can herald in supporting a new band from the start, seeing them grow and change and mature. Northwind's Ire from Finland's Draugnim is one such album. They have a number of demos behind them (one of which is reviewed here on The Metal Crypt), but this is their official debut album on Spikefarm records.
To describe Draugnim's sound you need but one word: Epic (with a capital E). Northwind's Ire has a huge sound; huge like the ocean as it safely carries home the victorious northern warriors that swore themselves to its waves. Crushing guitars and bass ride the swell of keyboards that carries these odes to the past over rolling drums and Viking choirs; those surging grandiose keyboards that provide the melodies and forward progression for all the tracks are the highlight of the album, used perfectly by keysman Morior, compelling your blade to battle. The beauty of Draugnim is that at no stage do the keys sound cheesy. They never override the other instruments, and even when they are used as the main musical driver (in pretty much every tune), they are always the perfect accompaniment to the guitars, which are solid and ever present. The bass too is clearly audible, spending most of its time providing the lower half of the guitar lines, but on occasion rolling out from under the ocean wall of sound to provide its own deep swelling movement.
Taking their cues largely from Moonsorrow (Henri Sorvali gets the producer credit here) with the keyboard style of their earlier work and the song writing sensibility of their later albums, you will also hear moments that would comfortably reside on a Summoning album (see "Craionhorn" and the enormous "Sworn to Waves"), and of course homage to Bathory and even some Windir influence is evident. The vocals are the now standard Black Metal fare, convincingly executed by front man Chimedra, raspy and distant but never screechy. Clean Viking style choirs accompany some songs (see opener "Moonpath" and the rolling "Towards the Dusk") to great effect — they are especially convincing as backing for the main vocals. For the perfect example of all the above points combined you need only listen to the huge and inspiring "Will Dawn Rise Again", with its sweepingly epic keyboard line and Viking choirs reminiscent of "Jotunheim" or "Pimeä" from Moonsorrow's "Verisäkeet" album, it is the most memorable track on the album, and I defy any fan of this kind of music to resist its primal call to battle.
If Northwind's Ire has a shortcoming it is that there is too little variety over the course of its 7 songs. This could easily have been recorded as a single 45 minute track and been equally convincing, as there is little overall variation in tempo or sound, but when the music is of this caliber it is easy to forgive as you lose yourself in the lure of the deep and the call of the blade.
For fans of this kind of epic Viking-tinged Black Metal this is a must have album and a promising younger band that will be worth keeping a keen eye on, for with a debut this strong you just know they have an exciting career ahead of them.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: Sworn To Waves (reviewed by Michel Renaud)|
Review: Vulturine (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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