Nomans Land - Raven Flight review
|Release date:||December 2006|
01. To The Far Lands
02. Sea Battlefield
03. Torir Scald
04. Bridge Warder
06. Hail Normann!!!
07. Raven Flight
08. Dragon's Grin
09. Beard Of Storm
10. War Song
11. Back With Glory
Nomans Land have gained themselves the reputation of playing a refreshingly different blend of Viking metal with their two previous works "Last Son of the Fjord" and "Hammerfrost". While the European scene plays black metal-influenced, riff-based and mostly upbeat Viking metal with harsh vocals, occasionally accompanied by clean vocals, these Russians have found their own little niche by doing exactly the opposite, drawing their main influences from doom and folk metal, playing lengthy guitar lines rather than repeating riffs, giving major importance to the epic clean vocals of singer Sigurd and keeping everything at a moderate speed.
Enough of Nomans Land's past, let's take a look at the present. After throwing their new album "Raven Flight" into your stereo one gets welcomed by an intro, a novelty for Nomans Land, and you can be sure it isn't the only one. The first real song "Sea Battlefield" might even shock many fans who loved the band for being different: the music is upbeat and ferocious, the guitars play black-ish tremolo-based riffs and the vocals are harsh throughout the song. Now if you hope that this song must be an exception, I'm sorry to tell you that it's rather the rule - Sigurd's clean vocals only appear on two tracks ("Bridge Warder" and "Dragon's Grin") and fail to reach the epic grandeur they had on the preceding albums; the whole album is a lot more aggressive and black metal-influenced than what we're used of Nomans Land, especially the "War Song" and the title track, and the amount and intensity of Nomans Land's trademark guitar lines has been immensely cut down.
Considering all this and re-reading this review's introduction one sees a shocking development. But is it really that bad? Yes and no. On the one hand it's of course sad to see that Nomans Land have diluted their unique concept by incorporating established elements to get their music closer to the European market. On the other hand this makes this album quite varied, with songs like the typical Nomans Land anthem "Torir Scald" (without Sigurd's vocals though and with some double-bass passages instead), the surprisingly black title track and the track "Beard of Storm" even bordering power metal. Which leads us to another point: "Beard of Storm" just invites you to get caught in a mosh while the title track is a neck-breaker for sure, the kind of songs that were severely lacking in the band's otherwise rather boring live sets - no matter what you think of this album, you can't deny it's a massive upgrade for their live performances.
Conclusively as a fan I have mixed feelings about this album. If you loved Nomans Land for their uniqueness and think the harsh vocals on "Hammerfrost" were enough already, stay away from this album. If you enjoy Viking metal in general and perhaps found Nomans Land interesting but too slow for your taste, you can grab this one without hesitation. Everyone else just listen to the tracks below and make up your own mind.
Highlights: "Torir Scald", "Raven Flight", "Beard of Storm"
Sea Battlefield (complete)
Bridge Warder (complete)
Torir Scald (sample)
||Written on 23.12.2006 by Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.|
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