Nordland – European Paganism (Pagan/Black Metal)

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From England there is a solo project made by Vorh called Nordland which has been a rather active force since the formation in 2011. The self-titled debut in 2012 was well received and Nordland has since managed to release two more full-length albums and an EP prior to European Paganism. One would think with so many releases it might be more quantity than quality, however Vorh has done well maintaining a quite high level on his albums. European Paganism being no different of course.

Nordland’s Pagan ways are something a lot of metalheads are sure to enjoy, me included. With a 27 minute opener (!) in The Mountain the journey starts on this concept album that takes us through epic landscapes. What a journey it becomes, I get a lot of vibes from one of my favorite black metal albums last year. Namely Old Souls by Wayfarer. Cold and stony mountains, nature, paganism and an journey through the old ways is what Nordland offers. While it’s nothing new and something Nordland has done in the past it has to be said this is his best work yet. The primal sound, great song-writing and atmosphere this album creates is sweet music to my ears.

It doesn’t captivate me as much as Wayfarer’s album did last year (they do differ a bit in sound to be honest) but I had a good time on this journey. An experience the more atmospheric and pagan black metal fans should grab to get their fill. Vorh is impressing me with his continuous good releases, growing slightly each time.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Nordland-407362792653859
Label: Satanath Records and More Hate Productions
For fans of: Wayfarer and Winterfylleth
Favorite song: A Burning of Idols
Score: 3/5

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Best of 2017 so far

Picking a top 10 is always hard, I personally try to mix it up with various genres as well. There were some albums which on any other day could be in this top 10 but this is what I am sticking with! Also just like last year I only choose albums I’ve reviewed. Meaning there are some albums that’s actually good and been out before this is written but I haven’t had the time to review them, hence they are not in the running. So here you go The Metal Gamer top 10 albums of 2017…..so far!

Mordbrand – Wilt (Death Metal)
Review
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HerezA – I Become Death (Death Metal)
Review

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Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi (Pagan/Black Metal)
Review

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Svartsyn – In Death (Black Metal)
Review

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Svart Crown – Abreaction (Black/Death Metal)
Review

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Hideous Divinity – Adveniens (Technical/Brutal Death Metal)
Review

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Shadow of Intent – Reclaimer (Deathcore)
Review

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Firespawn – The Reprobate (Death Metal)
Review

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Evocation – The Shadow Archetype (Death Metal)
Review

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Hour of Penance – Cast the First Stone (Technical/Brutal Death Metal)
Review

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Irrbloss – Irrbloss (Black/Viking Metal)

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Irrbloss is a Swedish word meaning Will-o’-wisp. Fitting name for a black/viking metal outfit that sings about folklore. Irrbloss was formed in 2003 as a one man band by Lord Irrbloss and has since then released one full-length in 2009 (Bloodline) which received high ratings in the metal community. Before putting the band on hold due to Grimr leaving the band Irrbloss also released two EP’s, Yggdrasil in 2014 and the selftitled Irrbloss EP came out last year.

Featuring three tracks and clocking 17 minutes I found this the perfect album to listen to while sipping on my coffee and slowly waking up this rainy Sunday morning. If you haven’t heard Irrbloss before then it is high time you do so and get started with this EP. Irrbloss has to be one of the best black metal acts from Sweden that I’ve heard but yet they have stayed in the shadows, lacking the exposure they deserve and I guess not many know of them. The Wanderer, In Chains and Vindictive and Lori∂i are all three top tracks, showcasing different styles of black and viking metal. Lord Irrbloss vocals are just as great as before, as is his song-writing, production having that sweet mix of dirty black metal sound from the 90’s and not being over-produced. The Dissection like riffs hits me hard whereas I start to wakeup and headbang for a great Sunday start.

Irrbloss selftitled EP is the perfect way to go out in as it showcases some of the bands best moments. I hope the band is only taking a small break as they are simply too good just to vanish. You reading this can make it easier for Lord Irrbloss in his decision to come back by listening to Irrbloss today and become one of the Norse Horders.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Irrblossband
For fans of: Dissection and Moonsorrow
Favorite song: In Chains and Vindictive

Helroth – I, Pagan (Folk/Pagan Metal)

 

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Poland is known for many good bands such as Behemoth, Vader and Decapitated. Most of the Polish scene is however known for death and black metal, hence it’s a nice fresh breeze to get a band from Poland that mixes pagan, black and folk in Helroth. I, Pagan is the bands debut album after releasing the EP Wataha in 2013. Helroth was formed in Warsaw 2012 with the foundation coming from the band Vecordia and consists of seven (!) members, having a wide range of instruments in their lineup.

Pagan Gods, tales of old legends and a lot of atmospheric folk music is on the agenda in I, Pagan. Most of the lyrics are sung in Polish, but don’t you worry, you will have a great experience anyway purely going by the folk atmosphere and instrumental play (there are a few pure instrumental tracks too) even if you don’t understand the words. Plus the fact I love Orthank lead vocals (who reminds me a lot of Ville Seponpoika Sorvali from Moonsorrow at times) and Marchew backing him up with her beautiful voice. A great combo.

The whole album screams of the old pagan ways and while listening to this you will want to be in a forest cabin drinking beer (or mead) and just take it all in. Great debut from Helroth and a pleasant surprise I got from my Spotify weekly (again!). I, Pagan is out now by Art of the Night Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Helroth
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HelrothOfficial
For fans of: Huldre and Merkfolk
Favorite song: Pasterz chmur

Wolfchant – Bloodwinter (Black/Pagan Metal)

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Wolfchant, one of the German powerhouses of folk/pagan metal. Since their debut Bloody Tales of Disgraced Lands in 2005 the band has only grown in popularity while having had quite a few lineup changes and ups and downs in their discography Wolfchant has still stayed strong. Bloodwinter is the bands sixth full-length album and it has actually been four years now since Embraced by Fire came out, which many sees as the bands second best album after the masterwork A Pagan Storm.

Wolfchant stick to what they do best, delivering a pagan storm the the masses. While I know a lot of people usually go “why isn’t Wolfchant innovating their sound!?” or something similar when bands stick to their sound for a long period of time there is also the fans who go completely opposite “why did Wolfchant change their sound!?”. Can’t please them all of course but at least you know what to expect from Wolfchant.

Bloodwinter is a good Wolfchant album. It’s an epic adventure with a good mix of harsh and clean vocals. Fans of Wolfchant will definitely have a good time with Bloodwinter and newcomers to the band can even start with this album, since the bands production quality has risen a lot since A Pagan Storm. Meaning Bloodwinter is probably the best first experience a new listener will get until they dig deeper into the bands discography.

Tracks such as Heritage of Fire, New Born Killer and Wolfchant (A Wolf to Man) are great Wolfchant tunes and the album overall is of good quality (some songs being better than others). I would put Bloodwinter as one of their three best releases (along with A Pagan Storm and Embraced by Fire) so if you’re on the lookout for some pagan metal Wolfchant got what you want.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wolfchantofficial
For fans of: Ensiferum and Equilibrium
Favorite song: Heritage of Fire

Winterhymn – Blood & Shadow (Folk Metal)

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Are you ready for some Cold-Blooded American Pagan Metal? That’s what Winterhymn calls their music and it does have different feeling to it than your general folk metal band. Winterhymn infuse clean vocals with growls and a wide range of instruments. Making it a great mix between genres such as black, death and power metal. One band that instantly comes to mind as a reference point to meld this genres well is Eluveitie.

The debut Songs for the Slain was released in 2011 with Blood & Shadow being Winterhymn’s follow-up after a lot of touring with known acts such as Children of Bodom, Eluveitie, Turisas and Korpiklaani. Since the debut a lot has changed in the lineup with half the band (Warg, Sieven and Ulfr) leaving to form Siegelord in 2013. That hasn’t stopped Winterhymn’s quest for conquest though as this has in all honesty spawned two good bands with a different approach to music (Siegelord plays melodic death metal). More on Siegelord in a future blog post.

Exura (keyboards), Umbriel (violin) and Draug (vocals, guitars) have their best performance yet with the three new recruits in Alvadar (bass, backing vocals), Valthrun (drums) and Varrik (guitars) making sure the change of members isn’t slowing the band down as they are on point. Blood & Shadow is full with great hymns like Seafarer, speedy power metal tunes such as Blood of the Moon and black folk Silenced by the Northern Winds. There is something for everyone on Blood & Shadow that wants an epic tale. Definitely an album I will go back to several times to find myself getting a new favorite song each and every time.

Winterhymn’s Blood & Shadow is out now by SoundAge Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Winterhymn
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/winterhymn
For fans of: Eluveitie and Arkona
Favorite song: Seafarer

Vindland – Hanter Savet (Black/Pagan Metal)

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If I would describe Vindland in one sentence I would say it’s the spiritual sisterband to Valfar’s Windir. Because Vindland is heavy influenced from the legendary band. They definitely chose a good band to draw influence from though and Vindland delivers some sick guitar melodies which creates a very pagan heroic atmosphere during the whole album.

To further Vindland’s paganism they sing in the almost dead language Breton, which is from the bands native region Britanny, France. Giving the album an even greater atmospheric pagan feeling to it. If you enjoy your black metal on the pagan side and is a fan of Windir’s old work then Vindland’s debut Hanter Savet is definitely for you.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vindlandBZH
For fans of: Windir and Kampfar
Favorite song: Serr-Noz