without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
My knowledge of Norther is very limited, I've never particularly liked Children of Bodom and upon hearing from numerous sources that Norther was little more than a poor CoB rip-off I found no interest in pursuing their music. However for some reason I felt I should try listening to their latest output, if they beared any resemblance to CoB's older output then they will be infinitely better than the current incarnation of the band they wish to mimic. It seems though that Norther caught the 'suck virus' too because this album is atrociously boring, somewhere on par with "Are You Dead Yet?". I'm going to stop the CoB comparisons at this point because I think I've made my point clear; monkey see, monkey do. "N" is not only shite in name but also musical quality; the riffs are unimaginative, the keyboards vomit forth insipid melodies and there are a multitude of questionable effects and industrial moments.
From what I can tell Norther have stripped their guitars down the bare bones being content to play ancient melodic death metal riffs when they're feeling adventurous but otherwise they chug out simple power chord based riffs that never progress. I think I heard an attempt at speed metal somewhere in there but I was probably distracted by the limp-dicked lead work meandering all over the top doing absolutely nothing. Conversely a few songs such as "My Antichrist", "Frozen Angel" and "Black Gold" have some technically well done solos but in the context of the songs it sounds like the lead guitarist is trying awfully hard to be Alexi Laiho, which is a person no one should aspire to be in any sense at all. Otherwise think of any cliché when it comes to modern metal and they abuse it at some point in their songs; pinch harmonics, dropping the guitars in favour of vocals, chugging riffs... It's all there in fucking spades.
The keyboards aren't actually that bad in light of the piss poor riffing; they're just boring if anything at all. The melodies are never interesting, and most of the time they seem to have them set to the 'Crystal' sound set found on those old Casio keyboards in high school music classes. When they do come out to the front all I can think is "They sound fruity" and then I completely forget about them because they've got the keyboardist hooked up to morphine drip. The industrial effects however are annoying; at least I think they're industrial? They're some kind of electronics and regardless of their classification they blow more sheep than a New Zealand farmer. "Down" is practically a techno based song with a simple riff and some lethargic death vocals put over the top. Somewhere around the middle there's a drum solo followed by the most perplexing section I've ever heard; the guitars play two repetitive riffs that accomplish absolutely nothing and then the song goes on as if though nothing happened. What the fuck? I want those 20 seconds of my life back!
The only competent figure in the entire band seems to be the drummer who managed to avoid making my blood boil further. Even the vocalists can't do anything right; the harsh vocals are fairly raspy and irritating whilst the clean vocals are from a technical standpoint 'good' they're excessively whiny making him sound like he's just been sexually violated with a broom handled dipped in 'Deep Heat'. Maybe that's what happened to all the band members because this album is just so utterly boring and sluggish, the band just don't even seem to be trying. To use an analogy it's like they're playing at -11, there is nothing imaginative or interesting about this album. When the album isn't boring it's despoiling your ears with poorly chosen electronics, emotionally retarded lyrics and lamentable attempts at metal riffs. Don't hate Norther though, it's not their fault for releasing what is easily one of the worst albums of the year. Pity them, because they apparently have no will or soul of their own.