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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