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Undoubtfully, not only American and British metal scenes were important during the 80's. Although being underground, Swedish scene gained its place. You have examples like 220 Volt or Silver Mountain. However, other bands with a brief existance in the scene released some good albums and Norden Light is one of those bands.
Norden Light was a Chris Mentzer's (formerly Silver Mountain's front-man) project that survived only for 1 year due to some changes on the discographic company that gave rise to some firings, including his. Consequently, Silver Mountain and Norden Light were affected, if not splitted-up. At the end of the day, discographic companies are a business like any other, so they have to earn money, and to be honest, this album would not sell as much as Madonna did during the 80's or 90's.
By the way, the sound of the album is very special and its atmosphere makes it sound like the soundtrack of a winter movie, which at the end, gives a melodic sound to the same. Maybe a good listen to Europe and Silver Mountain (resulting in a heavier version of Europe), as well as many other Swedish melodic heavy metal bands could give you a clue of how this album sounds, and surely you can notice some other different bands like Dio as an influence for Norden's sound.
You may also think that the album is repetitive since many songs have similar tempos and atmospheres, but there are other kind of songs that make a difference like the speedish and explosive "No Escape" which is a very amazing song and is different from the rest of the album since it is one of the few heavy metal songs here along with "Shadows" which is a beautiful mid-tempo ballad and surely one of the best but most underrated metal songs ever. The rest are average mid tempo heavy metal songs with some traces of hard rock here and there, so regardless of its cheesy sound, the album has a lot of heavy moments and that's the difference between the same and Europe's releases.
There is nothing complex here, guitar solos and riffs are very simple (solos are very brief and riffs do not use complicated scales or neoclassival tunes), keyboards are more elaborated but just enough to give an atmosphere, and Mentzer's vocals are somehow different from the vocals he used in Silver Mountain. In this album, they sound more intense and emotional which is O.K., considering that they fit with the melodic sound of the album.
The album at hand is quite good, specially "Shadows" and "No Escape". If you are fanatic of AOR, you will love this album. Believe me, is a metal jewel.
Norden Light’s full-length was a surprisingly good find I happened upon while exploring a bunch of 80’s Swedish material. The band actually has that cool anthemic, melodic, powery sound exemplified by such other great artists as Zar, Elektradrive, Horizon and of course, the almighty Europe. This album represents that same rarer, refined and amazingly hook heavy softer variety of power-anthemism that still rocks hard. An addictive little album, this one’s been a frequent player on my ipod and home computer lately, and I’m thrilled to have another band in my collection that has the same sound as the aforementioned act. Strong musical performances, plenty of catchiness, and tones of fantasy themes and driving keyboards give this one a great character.
High points of this masterpiece include the enthralling slow anthemic pounder ‘Crossfire’ – a diverse track with one helluva catchy 80’s chorus. Total exemplification of the bands style here; powerful memorable hooks, great keys, strong vocals and simple, heavy riffs. The chorus is the real winner here, with a great, character laden lead vocal, well backed by softer, vocal choirs. The lyrics and song title are very badass, and the closing guitar section caps off what feels like a very emotive, passionate 80s power performance. Very much akin to Zar or Europe. ‘No Escape’ is another winner, with its fast roaring pace, and centering of heavy, phasered riffage, and shredding solos that kick plenty of ass. Great, and very metal track. Vocal delivery is nice and gruff too, showcasing the tougher side of the frontman. As with other bands of this category; Zar and Elektradrive especially, we get a strong early/mid 80’s Dio feel; especially on vocals, but also in the overall tone of riffage, bass and general mid pace pounding, and powery aspects. Good stuff.
A really strong effort, and from a totally unknown act. Basically sound wise it’s like Zar, or if you’re unfamiliar with them, it’s Dio meets Europe. Very cool shit. ‘Legends’, especially due to it’s excellent background guitar leads, and snarling, forceful vocal delivery, brings more of the Dio comparison I mentioned. While the majestic , centerpiece keyboards of tracks like ‘It Hurts’ and ‘Shadows’ (not to mention the more love-orientated subject matters and titles), and slower pace, bring more of a Europe feel. Strong guitar abounds, and with the fantasy vibe brought around by keys and certain subject matters, almost bring a ‘Somewhere Back in Time’ feel. Brilliant power/melodic heavy metal; totally recommended, especially for fans of aforementioned bands.