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Time to relive the old school? You're right! - 94%

Thunderwarrior91, December 30th, 2017

Many were overwhelmed by Quorthon's nearly decade of inactivity in the metal realm (Blood On Ice was recorded in the 80's), despite it all, his latest discs are not as popular as it deserves to be. It’s an understandable situation, but it is still somewhat ungrateful. I say it because of the number of reviews for the band's latest albums. We don't really know, but we do know that popularity has nothing to do with the quality of certain discs. Obviously, I'm talking like many who was not satisfied with the previous release (I really liked it). In this disc, this band from the northern land give us a trip through different emotions and moods, and those natural instinctive state of mind show that this album was composed with a true passion for a not so appreciated style. Their discs are not just discs: they're journeys, stories, and experiences. A wonderful thing which in my case it has already been the soundtrack of many of my winters.

The first thing that I like to highlight about this offering is the great sound and production of the album as a whole, showing us a proposal that is rather sober and only focuses on the cleanliness of instrumental performances, a considerable improvement if you compare it with Destroyer of Worlds. Nordland I overflows with a class from the first minute. Folk passages introduce songs that, with environmental keyboards and strong riffs, it gives us a solid and elegant stuff in the vein to Home of Once Brave, as we can hear in the title track for example, with the weight that this comparison takes. Sometimes the listener can elucidate accelerated and no pauses moments, as the song progress, which shows us endless instrumental arrangements which adorn Quorthon's vocals accompanied by female vocals chanting grandiloquently that do nothing more than embellishing it and passing comfortably through different atmospheres that we like so much.

You probably think it's time to relive the old school with this release. You're right. Although its predecessor Destroyer of Worlds was received in a somewhat lukewarm passion, at this point is when the fans were reconnected with this proposal that Quorthon offered. This album brings back aggressiveness and frenetic solos… perfectly executed! If you liked Hammerheart, be assured that you will like this one. There are songs full of solos and they sounded as if the performer was schooling the public on how to do viking metal. If there is a viking/celtic metal school, these songs would be used to teach children the basic concepts of this style. Few things are more emotional than Quorthon in an acoustic performance. Tracks like Ring of Gold, Man of Iron, The Ravens, and Song to Hall Up High are set in a mood where the audiences would want to grab handkerchiefs. You may find that Quorthon had his best performance on this album with those mentioned songs above, but the rest of the materials in the record is good in its own right. Unfortunately, everything has its end, the closing track relaxes all neurons, particles, and any part of us that has been asking for water because of the intense emotions on the previous songs. Heimfard gives us a remarkably quiet inspired ending which reminds us that good viking metal is not always pure guitar playing. A good viking metal album is about compositional quality and the band's execution, a clear example given by Quorthon on this release which gives us a simple space of nostalgia and relaxation, simply a monumental closure for a monumental return.

Quorthon may not be the best singer in the genre, but that man bequeathed his soul in the legacy that he left us, and nobody can take away that merit. Nobody is able to create a world as the Swede did, so many times imitated but never matched. Both the epic and black elements on this release hypnotizes me more than usual. Altogether, the tracks here are an excellent introduction to viking music, perhaps with a new age touch. We appreciate the apparition of orchestrations which accompany it as a backdrop, as well as the omnipresent acoustic guitar, the oscillations between chorus and vocals; and above all, the ability to produce suggestive and emotive melodies. We had to wait ten years to be able to hear Bathory's full power again, a time when we even thought that maybe we would never enjoy those tremendous riffs again which Tomas Forsberg's mind had bestowed upon us. Nobody can boast of having so many albums and classics which produce a collective catharsis as we such lived in this eleventh episode.