For Fans Of
Living in the shadows of your peers is all well and good in a band’s infancy but after awhile the dark confines that indirectly allow you to ride a genre’s coattails become inconvenient and ultimately impossible to maintain. Finland’s Norther have seemingly assumed the tag of Children of Bodom‘s little brother. A tag not that inaccurate, with the band delivering a very similar sound over the years.
However, by now, the time is right to stand on your own two feet and assert some sense of musical authority. ‘Circle Regenerated‘ is a key release. On paper, it looks like this could be the album to establish Norther as one of melodic death metal’s contemporary elite but equally could also be the catalyst that starts ringing the warning bells on the band’s so far productive career. This album marks the first release not to feature founding member and vocalist/guitarist Petri Lindroos.
‘Circle Regenerated‘ is a little rough around the edges but it is the catchy choruses and harmonising that makes this release endearing and compensate for any other glaring shortcomings. Just listen to ‘Some Day‘, which begins honestly albeit in a standard manner before culminating with that trademark melodic death metal chorus that fans of heavy music have come to love and expect. Opener, ‘Through It All‘ makes a good first impression with a fast tempo and prominent Scandinavian sound. ‘We Don’t Care‘ rhythmically is precise but is a little haphazard in the various stages. While ‘Believe‘ is a throwback to Norther‘s signature points, with that Children of Bodom similarity highly prevalent.
With a revised line-up this studio release does take some getting used to. There is a certain adjustment period necessary.
Unfortunately, this album does suffer from a sense (or lack thereof) of continuity. Although all roles are of equal importance in a performing sense, to lose your vocalist and lead guitarist is always going to take some adjustment. Norther, to their credit admirably solider on but nevertheless ‘Circle Regenerated‘ feels a little compromised by this occurrence.
‘Circle Regenerated‘ is not Norther‘s best album but in a fair and perfectly blunt manner of speaking, it is far from their worst either. There is enough polish here to justify some praise.
Under the circumstances ‘Circle Regenerated’ should be lauded for its enduring nature. Norther could easily be forgiven for throwing in the towel prior to this release. Thankfully there is still some fight. The Finnish outfit have essentially been underrated for most of their career. Let’s hope they can get back to a stronger sound going forward in order to receive some much deserved credit.
1. Through It All
2. The Hate I Bear
4. Some Day
5. Break Myself Away
8. We Do Not Care
9. The Last Time