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Everything has an ending. - 96%

Thunderwarrior91, December 30th, 2017

When someone so iconic, legendary, and influential leaves a void impossible to fill after his death, it's not uncommon for fans to rummage through some material that might appeal to them. In this case, it is a sequel that Quorthon recorded as a continuation of his previous album in Bathory. The project ended up unfinished though, as it was thought that Quorthon would record a series of offering until "Nordland IV". However, some people purported (even Quorthon himself) that the story ends here. Everything has an ending. Even with all that, Nordland II is still a great work where an emotive track called "The Land" highlights the album. And we can arguably agree that the mentioned song is one of Quorthon's magnum opus. There's practically a trace of explicit magic and pagan spirit of its early years in this release. The band continued to polish, with artisan patience, the idea of composing with progressive planes. This style of Bathory's songwriting modernized the album concept, in search of rhythms and environments that can flow naturally inside the mathematic instinct along with the import of scales from Scandinavian folk music.

The album has that powerful punch even in the beginning moments. This certain impact gives the album a character that seems to impose an impression that the whole offering was specially dedicated (again) to those who had waited (including yours truly), with hopes of listening to the legendary Swede again, for ten years. Listeners are enchanted on this stuff that doesn't leave you indifferent from the first second; because, unlike an ordinary disc, this record starts with a slow and heavy riff accompanied with vocal lines which transmit a lot of energy without much effort. The opening track itself is a piece of art in the same vein of previous Bathory album openers. This reminds me of a competition between Bathory's Storm of Damnation and Revelation of Doom, in which those two has the creepiest opener. But the creepy aspect disappears here and it opens to a new age style, announcing good aura. The roller coaster ride continues with songs which reflects majestic lead guitars and contains lyrics that will make you catch your breath once you abide by, because of its extreme emotions and physical resistance. The ending track is a proof that songs do not need to implant too much speed and extreme resources. That is why we find dynamic composition and varied structure in this release, plus it is full of vitality. The production itself is one of the raw ones you can find in the genre. That new age style mixed with old Bathory material is just great. It is rawer than Blood On Ice, but it’s subservient in terms of songwriting.

If Bathory did rescue the scene during the late 90s with Blood on Ice, Quorthon rescued Bathory once more with this offering and end up reconquering the scene with an endorsed attitude. The band is reborn for a second time with a work that offers prodigious minutes of musical glory. Nine songs in which Quorthon demonstrated that he can still continue giving class regardless of the decade, thanks to moments in the album that will give the audiences nostalgia of Bathory's best classics without leaving aside the necessary renewal. It really feels good how the band had managed to sound like a full-fledged band, since the intentions were clear from the first chord, and Bathory held its stance throughout each piece of music. The instrumental verbiage, characteristic of Bathory, persists through a more paused eloquence which doesn't lose its appeal. I mean, a mosaic of rhythms that passes quickly by the ears which simply stands as a warning of the potential that this disc brings. The choirs sound powerful and it shines with their own lights.

I think Nordland II is an easy record to listen to, but it takes several turns in our players to convince us how good it is. And that's not even calculating the countless arrangements and colors which are being discovered with each listening. It’s an elaborate, complex, and very well cared-for production record. For die-hard fans of this style, the album can be considered as one of the great releases of Bathory for the last time. Fans of both the band and the genre won't regret to hear it. For those who are not into the genre and Bathory, it will be a good album to have in the library. Bathory condensed its most spectacular features, where melody matters as much as precision and fierceness. It has not been the pagan fantasy -the usual resource- which had given the most accurate ingredient to this final chapter. Instead, it is the love of Quorthon's culture and Norse mythology. Quorthon, an illustrious expression of Scandinavian folklore, simple and eternal, thanks for the tireless struggle against time and its advances.