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This and "Death Unlimited" are Norther's best albums so far, and they will probably hold that position as I doubt Norther will again put out anything this good even though their recent album wasn't too bad. This is another very good album that I think surpasses what Children of Bodom has ever done. And another album that I don't think is a Bodom ripoff. While Petri and Alexi are close friends, and while Norther and Children of Bodom play the same genre of music, they still sound plenty different, and if you don't think so, thats most likely because you didn't listen to the music enough to really absorb it and let it grow on you.
The songs on this album are filled with catchy riffs, fast as hell and melodic solos, great vocals, excellently blended keyboards, and it even has an instrumental towards the end called "Frozen Sky", which is great and definitely reinforces the sad mood that you are supposed to be in while listening to the album.
The best songs on the album have got to be "Betrayed" and "Unleash Hell". Both of those songs are awesome mainly because they are fast and basically straight to the point. "Betrayed" has very catchy riffs, strong but not over the top vocals, and several very nice solos, which generally start off slow and low pitched, but still melodic, and then move their way up in both speed and tone. The screams are another great quality of the song, and many songs on this album. They are long, harsh, and basically give you an idea of pain and anger. "Unleash Hell" starts off with catchy riffs and a scream that lasts a whole 6 seconds. Doesn't get much better than that. The vocals here, when they do kick in, blend in with the riffs very well, they sound very angry, and they are strong here as well. The synths on this song also work very well. They kick in every now and then and usually have a high pitched beat, which gives the song variety. The chorus is a bit slower than the verses and it almost is like a chance to take a breath for the listener. The solo starting at 2:29, follows the structure I described above. Then we have even more soloing towards 3:40.
The album also contains several slower paced songs. While they aren't as catchy because of their speed, they are still very good songs, contain addictive riffs, good vocals, and the best and longest solos tend to be on these slower songs. While fast as hell solos are catchy and impressive, the slower solos allow you to hear more of the melody better, which is also pretty good.
Overall, this is a great album, with excellent musicianship, and I once again find myself having to congratulate Petri on his awesome vocals. His vocals are definitely growing on me, and he is becoming one of my favorite vocalists in the metal world. These guys definitely have much more talent to offer than Children of Bodom. While Children of Bodom were good back in the day, these guys still continue to be good, so hopefully in the future, Norther won't make me regret these comments. Great work and keep it up!