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Pretty listenable if you're in the mood - 68%

Daemonlord, June 28th, 2011

Despite forming in 1993, I’d only heard of Adorned Brood’s name being mentioned on the odd occasion when discussing folksy pagan metal with people, without ever hearing any of these German folksters music before receiving this for reviewing. Noor is the band’s sixth full length album, and I must say, they’re certainly a lot heavier than I’d been expecting, whilst still managing to keep the raw folksiness in their sound.

There’s touches of various different styles of the folksy Viking styled metal here, ranging from the occasional Moonsorrow epic-ness, to the beer fueled jollity of Finntroll, back around to the traditional instrument-filled sounds that ebb from the likes of Eluveitie. With their usage of flute and pipes, the band remind me of the likes of Velimor at times too, which is always a bonus as they’re one of the bands that can pull that style of sound off best. Adorned Brood are also seemingly gifted with the ability of having a good ear for melody in their chugging, rhythmic riffs, as even after the 2nd spin of this album I found myself recognizing and humming along to some parts of the album. The occasional usage of soothing female vocals away from the lead vocalist adds an extra side to the music again, especially pleasing during the bands more gentle musical passages. Plus, checking out her picture in the album’s booklet… you probably would if you know what I mean…

All in all, this is a pleasantly solid release from a stalwart of the scene. Whilst I wasn’t utterly shocked or blown away by the band’s music to want to go out and hunt down all their other releases immediately, I’m certainly enjoying it enough for it to find its way on to my regular play list. Though, it could’ve done without the cheesy cover of “Drunken Sailor” at the end though. Good stuff anyway!

Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com

Same old, same old. - 50%

Pratl1971, August 24th, 2010

The current folk metal craze is popping up in seemingly endless numbers in recent months. While most have been quite good, even amazing in rare spots, most have been trend-jumpers looking to cash in on a ‘hot’ phase. I’ve heard some pretty below-average music pouring out of the scene, but I remain open-minded to anything that passes before my musical radar.

Germany’s Adorned Brood attempts to set itself apart from the beleaguered scene that offers little in way of differentiation from one band to another in Noor, the band’s sixth effort. Along with bands like Heidevolk, Tyr, Korpiklaani and a host of others of similar ilk Adorned Brood plays in a mildly tempestuous style decently draped in some obligatory ‘sing-songy’ vocals that are run-of-the-mill if mildly entertaining. The one drawback is the performance on “Sons of the Damned” which sounds more like a tortured kid screeching into the microphone. Female vocals save the day in Ingeborg Anna, whose soft and easy delivery makes an otherwise subpar vocal performance somewhat engaging. I grow tired of the female vocalists playing second banana to the dominant alpha male painfully screaming or uselessly growling his way to feigned superiority; let her take complete control of the reins and throw caution to the wind or attempt them all yourself, period. This is a less contrived Evanescence on speed with a male-dominated presence, nothing special at all.

Musically Noor offers some decent visuals that are more akin to a large gangway than a full landscape of metal music. It’s not really great yet shouldn’t be completely reduced to musical rubble. I have heard this style a hundred times before and will no doubt hear it even more in the coming months. While I don’t necessarily find anything really wrong with Noor or with Adorned Brood I don’t think this album would be my first choice for folk metal when the likes of Finntroll and Ensiferum are bandying about the scene. While structurally sound and mildly enchanting, the album also is a typical pattern for the folk metal standard; it is good for one or two listens, then you might seek something a bit more enticing that will stick to your ribcage.

There are some fine moments of clarity and discernable talent on Noor, but over all I’d say you can either hit-or-miss the mark with this one.

(Originally written for www.MetalPsalter.com)

Valhalla uber alles! - 75%

doomknocker, July 26th, 2010

There have only been a few folk/Viking metal acts I’ve come across that’s bitten the big one like no one else…none that I’d wish to name check for fear of reprisal, but as it stands I’ll state that, for what it’s worth, a good 80-85% of the genre is ripe with awesomeness and musical niceties, far from being the gimmick genre others not of their ilk makes them out to be. We all need to have some fun in the metal world, lest things get so serious that the causticity

And with that said, I took to that mentality when dealing with this ADORNED BROOD act…

ADORNED BROOD’s “Noor” seems to be more horned helmet than tri-cornered hat in terms of the musicality, which tackles the heavier and more battle-hearty variety of things with that much-needed dancey melody thrown in for good measure. In fact, a good portion of the music heard on this disc has a harsh, thrash metal twinge to it, giving the battleship an extra bout of intensity to push it headlong into future conquests. That increase in intensity is definitely for the better in my book, as I wouldn’t put it against a German band to have a militarized heaviness in play, where the more head-banging moments act as bridges for the folksy and, dare I say, happier moments replete with medieval instrumentation and bouncy melodies. Strangely, this sort of combination works well together, with not one element overlapping the others present, where havoc crying guitar/bass riffs, harmonic leads, symphonic keyboards, realistic strings and woodwinds and form-fitting drum beats churn out some pretty wicked-bad hymns of pure metal monstrousness that’s European to the burned and chewed up bone. However, when it comes to the vocals, we get something quite different than your usual Viking group…rather than relying primarily on booming choirs and harsh screams, ADORNED BROOD instead give us a strange combination of Dani Filth shrieks and Lemmy-style grinding clean vocals with a twist of metalcore rant/raps thrown in for good measure (or confoundation), with a few other decently done choirs here and there where I’m sure they’re deemed fit song by song. I’m all for their attempts at their differentiation in the vocals department, but if I may say, there are plenty of moments where the shrieks are more of a bothersome deterrence than the madness made vocal they were originally perceived to be. But nevertheless, such fine musical examples such as “Am Grunde des Meeres”, “Noor” and “Schiff der Toten” are worth all sorts in their fantastic riffs and movements, making them one of the better newer acts of their ilk to come storming from the Northern seas.

In the end ADORNED BROOD have plenty to show in their metallic wares. Place these guys within the 85% bracket of awesome folkish metal and blast ‘til Fimbulwinter comes to claim us all. Horns up!

Not consistent, but may be their best - 70%

autothrall, October 29th, 2009

Love them or not, Adorned Brood were one of the first bands to take to the folk metal banner in the 90s, and they have now arrived at their sixth album, a tastefully produced effort which may just be their best yet.

Musically they exist at the crossroads of black and power metal, but Ingeborg Anna's flute and vocals add a unique taste to these, and there are many points of the record which are pure Euro folk with gang shouts. It functions seamlessly, and should appeal to anyone who enjoys the 'lighter side' of folk metal (Korpiklaani, etc.) The album begins with a symphonic intro and then the mighty bombast of "Storm" with its nice acoustic verse, layered in the dual vocals of Teutobot Frost and Anna. "Am Grunde Des Meeres" begins with a folk jig and then crispy blackened power metal sounding riffs. "Sons of the Damned" is more of a black/thrasher with folk breaks, it has some really shitty lyrics though and one of the weaker female vocal performances. They return to form with "Noor" and their raging namesake track. "Under Yggdrasil" is one of the later tracks on the album and perhaps my favorite here. They also perform the "Drunken Sailor" standard and it's kind of fun.

In the end, they've produced a worthy enough album that may find an audience among the folk metal masses. It's not completely consistent, some tracks are far tighter than others, but the production is great, the flute works seamlessly as do the female vocals (without it becoming fairy metal for the most part). The riffs aren't super but they contribute to the whole package.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com