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Norther - "Till Death Unites Us" (CD)

Norther - "Till Death Unites Us" CD cover image

"Till Death Unites Us" track listing:

1. Throwing My Life Away
2. Drowning
3. Norther
4. Everything
5. Evil Ladies
6. Omen
7. Scream
8. Fuck you
9. Alone in the End
10. Die
11. Wasted Years
12. The End of Our Lives

Reviewed by on January 30, 2006

"...a diverse, fulfilling metal experience that should not be missed. "

Norther, a powerhouse Finnish keyboard-thrash-metal band, has unleashed a beast of an album with “Till Death Unites Us.” Immediately, Norther’s style earns comparisons to the ever-popular kings of the keyboard/metal hybrid genre, Children of Bodom. It is clear, however, that Norther is much more than a Bodom clone, as they discharge some truly inspired music with their latest release.

Norther’s guitar riffs are just flat-out heavy—much more like you would expect from a power rock band than from a thrashy, hard metal act. The guitar work is stellar, ranging from the fast, simple riffs to electrifying solos, and even mixing in some American-esque metal that sounds like it could have been ripped right off of a Pantera album (take a listen to the track “Wasted Years,” for example).

The comparisons to Bodom come not only in instrumentation, but also in the pacing of the music and the sound of the lead vocalists. Generally, the songs are delivered at rapid-fire rates, with guitars and keyboards firing, in the manner of Bodom. Furthermore, Petri Lindroos’ vocals are extremely reminiscent of Bodom’s frontman. It’s not an exact match, but Petri belts out the same type of raspy growls that are instantly recognized by those familiar with the Bodom experience. The lyrics are definitely easier to decipher than the typical death metal growls.

As far as overall quality is concerned, this is an album that warrants thorough listening. If a track is labeled in a group’s namesake, as is the case with the song “Norther,” it had better be good. This self-titled track takes heed to that advice, with crunching riffs throughout. “Drowning,” the second track, is a metal anthem, with a simple, heavy-as-hell guitar riffed chorus. The following bass and keyboards compliment the chorus perfectly, and the guitar solo delivers, making for an absolute headbanging track. “Omen” is a beautiful track complete with haunting keyboards and clean chorus vocals delivered by lead guitarist Kristian Ranta. It works. “Scream,” the first single from the album, is good even if unspectacular. It thrives on its lively guitar work. Finally, the Fins, apparently, are not shy with the f-bombs. Perhaps the only low on the album is the track “F*** You,” which is as inane as the title would lead one to believe. Luckily, one sore spot does little to bring down this stellar work.

“Till Death Unites Us” is one of those albums that upon hearing makes one want to hunt down and purchase all previously released material. A listen to the entire album, from beginning to end, provides a diverse, fulfilling metal experience that should not be missed. Some death metal fans might scoff at the pop-like nature of Norther, but the overall talent and passion of this band leave them standing as a top-notch metal act that rivals their contemporary countrymen.

Highs: The song "Omen" and nearly the entire album.

Lows: The lame track "F*** You."

Bottom line: A solid, if not spectacular, effort from the Finnish metal scene.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)