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Despite all the jabbering, Norther is, and always will be, a third tier Children of Bodom clone. First off, they owe their entire career to Alexi Laiho, as he pretty much handed them all of their early success, so it's really no surprise that Norther play a watered down and easily digestible variation of Bodom's trademark style.
But the unoriginality alone isn't enough to warrant such a low score, it's the fact that even if Bodom or Kalmah or Skyfire or any of the other bands that play this style in a superior fashion never existed, this is still exceedingly shitty and poppish "metal". There is distortion, there is screaming, there is double bass, so I understand why people call this metal, but the crux of this fecal vapor gas chamber that some call a masterpiece rests solely on the fact that it's easily listenable. You could hear garbage like Frozen Angel or Tell Me Why on the radio with no resistance, it's fucking pop metal. None of the band members explicitly suck at their instruments, but the music that they create is just so.... bad. Down sounds like a throwaway from Are You Dead Yet?, and Always & Never is pseudo-gothic-vampira dance clubs you see in Blade movies friendly. What the hell guys? Wasn't metal supposed to shun those nu fang wearing freaks?
I think the most insulting part about this god awful album has got to be the rife techno overtones. Not "industrial" overtones like Strapping Young Lad are able to do, straight up n-tiss n-tiss tech-fuckin'-no. There was outrage when Daath did this with Dead on the Dancefloor, but this garbage is just as blatant but spans across the whole album, and nobody bats a heavily mascaraed eyelash (need more proof, check the intro to Always & Never)! Nothing about this album comes off as good except maybe some of the solos, but each (rare) one is completely overshadowed by alternative pop metal bollocks like the chorus to To Hell.
The term "modern" gets tossed around in a derogatory sense an awful lot, but the modernness of something rarely bothers me, here it smacks me in the face and simultaneously vomits on my couch. Listen to that light alternative bullshit called Savior. "She's my savior / she's the one for me *cue in a sequence that could be considered 'heavy' only in contrast to the rest of this Elton John light rock shit they call a song*". The only words I can find myself using to describe this are words like "light", "poppish", or "alternative", but they are really the most accurate descriptions I can think of. The riffs are mostly crappy midpaced chuggers complemented with boring drums. The drums don't have to be insane to be good, but here they do absolutely nothing and serve no purpose other than to just have percussion on the album. And I'll say these lyrics suck extremely hard, they fail miserably when it comes to the subject that a lot of the songs touch on. If you want to write a metal anthem with a romantic tinge, take some notes from Symphony X's Eve of Seduction.
In short, this is metal for the non metal fan. It's inviting and happy go lucky, something that isn't necessarily bad (I'm a huge power metal fan), but it is done in such a bad way that I want to reach into my speakers and jab a desert fork through Lindroos' throat. He has just lost any shred of integrity he may have had left with this bubblegum laden atrocity. If this isn't the album that launches this band into the stratosphere for Hot Topic shoppers, I don't know what will. This is one of the most radio friendly and inoffensive records I've ever heard (especially their pathetic attempts at quelling my complaints with song titles such as "Self Righteous Fuck"), and while happy and inoffensive isn't a bad thing when done correctly, N has essentially lain the blueprint for how to make shitty pop metal. If you want inoffensive and poppish, listen to Timeless Miracle or some band that actually has musical integrity.