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Northland – Downfall and Rebirth Review

Band: Northland
Album: Downfall and Rebirth
Label: Self-released
Genre: Folk Metal
Country: Spain
Release Date: January 1, 2015

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“REEEEEEEEEEEVENGEEEEEEE!”  That was how the world was introduced to the Folk Metal Sextet Northland when the released their self titled debut album that swirled up imaginations of ancient battles with swords and shields.  That was back in 2010 and they fell silent.  I enjoyed their first album and I was wondering if the were ever going to come back with another album.  It’s not like there weren’t busy during those years.  They were busy touring and performing festivals and at one point, waiting for their drummer Jose Resendo to heal from a motorcycle accident.

This time around, the band takes on the task of writing songs about Mother Nature rebelling against mankind, so you could call this a concept album.  As it goes with concept albums, it could go very good or very bad, depending on the songwriting and how the songs relate to each other.  How does Northland fare?  Well, it’s a mixed bag.

If the production could be described, it’s Folk Metal to the core, complete with violin riffs on just about every song by the brilliant Pau Vasquez, who shines on this album and highlights almost every song.  There’s the usual Death Metal-like growls that give the album some heaviness but for the most part, it’s on the lighter side of Folk Metal.  If you like traditional Folk instrumentation, you will enjoy it.  Northland definitely shows improvement from their first album.

The first song is “When Nature Awakes” which begins slow, with a flute solo to drag you into another world, an ancient one where steel swords and Pagan warriors rule and then the song kicks in, hitting you with a double blast of Folk Metal.  The songwriting is so descriptive, you can imagine yourself being there.

Each song blends one right into another and that’s the whole point of a good concept album.  One song rolls right on into the next and it almost sounds like one continuous, changing song.  “Downfall and Rebirth” is the gem of the album, as it clocks in as the longest and most epic one, with an orchestrated beginning and movie-like narration.  Then the song opens up into something incredible that could be the soundtrack of a Fantasy movie.  Other gems on this album is “Bloodred Sunrise”, “Together We Die” and “Moonlight Spell” because it features female vocals and is more acoustically driven than any of the other songs.
Overall, this album isn’t perfect because some of the songs do sound alike but this is an enjoyable album that’s worth picking up and listening to.  If you’re a lover of Folk Metal, this album is a must to add to your collection.

Rating: 7/10

Tracklist:

1. When Nature Awakes
2. Bloodred Sunrise
3. Together We Die
4. The Rite
5. Fury’s Unleashed
6. Duskriders
7. Spirit In Darkness
8. Whispers in the Wind
9. Downfall and Rebirth
10. Moonlight Spell
11. Newborn Star

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