Saturday, August 31, 2013

New from Glorious North Productions: Nordland & Vesterian CDs

Glorious North Productions is a UK-based label dedicated to releasing black metal from a select few artists, hand-picked for their commitment to high quality output. While a new label to me, their two newest releases have done their part to impress me and convince me that this label knows what it's doing. Visit Glorious North's website to snag each of these CDs after reading my review.

Vesterian- "Anthems for the Coming War Age"
Vesterian's galloping war-themed assault comes in with much more beauty than I would have expected from an album with such a title. While vocals are croaked out in the grimmest of fashions, the music is well balanced, with rapid-fire guitar leads balancing out the more aggressive black metal passages, making for a more melodic and listenable release than one might expect. On songs like the impressive and daunting "Unknown Spells Cast from Nibiru's Watch Towers" Vesterian delivers everything that made me curious about black metal in the first place: fantasy themed song titles with meandering song structures that are full of melody and intrigue but also defiantly keep a step or two ahead of the listener's expectations. While this release doesn't quite strike me as evil or vicious, the imagery and album title are perfect accompaniments to this maniacal music. If this is what war sounds like, I'm not quite ready to give up my own peaceful ways, but I'm intrigued and impressed by the great art it inspires.

Nordland- "The True Cult of the Earth"
While Vesterian seems intent on focusing on the subject and feeling of the battlefield, Nordland's similarly confrontational black metal focuses on reclaiming the earth for those who truly work with it in the traditional heathen fashion. The music plays a bit more with paces, working just as well at a crawl as at punky faster speeds. While albums with themes of reclamation of the land and regional identity tend to make me a bit anxious about tentative judgment of "outsiders" from a racial or social perspective, Nordland seems more focused on raising up those who would truly tend to the timeless lands they love so well, visiting mythical themes that evoke majestic imagery. If the Bathory influence isn't implied in the name of this project, it certainly is present in the music in the best way possible. I feel I could march along under Nordland's guidance for ages. This is truly uplifting and gorgeous music that makes me wish more folks working in the pagan/heathen-centric genres of black metal would hit the formula this well.

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