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Shields I have crushed with my sword - 100%

DreshZone777, May 12th, 2017

Nordland II rocks considerably harder than their predecessors, like Destroyers of World, which, although bearing a good number of excellent songs on it, seemed to be thematically and musically inconsistent, with no discernible rhyme or reason to their ordering. Not so with this record which virtually every song on this disc is cut from the same epic vein. This helps the album maintain a steady flow throughout its duration, making it undoubtedly, one of the most consistent record in Bathory's discography. Listening can prove a chore for the impatient fan, but the attentive listener will feel the brooding atmosphere seep into their skull by the third song. This album builds on the sonic landscapes presented in albums such as Nordland I or Blood On Ice, but also somewhat throwback to an older sound. It is a beautiful, rich combination of wonderful music and poetic lyrics that make sense.

Nordland II, as the album title says, is the second part of Nordland saga, and therefore it shows again the epic viking ambient and Nordic nature. It's a very good record with a lot of guitar riffs, plus great drum that adds an invaluable worth of basic instruments, and everything accompanied by keyboards that show a great job in making music, totally atmospheric. Quorthon's voice is in form, never fast but always trying to give that message of majesty in the stories narrated. As if it were something planned, this album goes very well for the end of Bathory's life chapter, simple act of complex life.

The album begins with "Blooded Shore", this one opens up with a fairly northern riff and some work from the choir, Quorthon gives us a nice piece of guitar-driven music. His vocals are pretty much same as always, although he may be at his finest on this song, he sings it all pretty aggressively, although we're talking clean vocals here. No more black metal screams of old. "Sea Wolf" is another highlight which has some nice folk-style keys throughout and again utilizes the choir sounds. Then "Vinland" opens up with sounds of sea/ocean, and kicks into possibly the heaviest and most crushing riff on the entire record. I'd also say this is the single best guitar performance on the album, it includes some orchestral sounds and the best chorus on the album. Quorthon's vocals are nearly as strong as good here as on the second track, but this is probably my favorite one.

Though it's less extreme than its beginnings, this is a more polished, elegant, gleaming pagan metal. This album has a lot of main riffs that are very strong and crunchy, and the choirs are once again, used in the background to give the song some substance. Through verses, Quorthon almost sounds like he wants to give us some black metal vocals, but maintains a very raspy version of clean singing. You can tell he's really into the lyrics, by the way he forcefully delivers them on this album, the songs are carried by the verses and the bridge, which are very dark and almost black metal oriented in itself. Admittedly, there is some keyboard work here that feels somewhere "norse", and the choir kept to still project the viking metal style.

The shocking reality and quality of his lyrics and music are awe-inspiring and just plain good. Quorthon being the only consistent member of Bathory throughout the band's tenure since 1983, he has been the only solid part of this band and all credit goes to him. The only disappointment being that he couldn't continue to make brilliant music. Do you want Bathory? 'Hammerheart' and 'Twilight of the Gods' or 'Blood on Ice' are still remembered as untouchable? Nothing I do will make you remember the past? Well, let's go to the past, fuck. That's what Quorthon thinks, and he does, the icon can't stop being an icon. Before Bathory's last war cry, the father of black and viking metal, the master of shadows, says goodbye of this world, that so much has contributed to metal. His gift: "Nordland II". A good sequel/saga that you can find in the genre. Admiration forever.