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Icestorm – The Northern Crusades

The Northern Crusades
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 27 February 2023, 1:32 PM

From their EPK, “ICESTORM, the Catalan warrior clan founded in 2006, culminate their incessant evolution with “The Northern Crusades,” a fourth concept album that places them as great masters of melodic death metal with an epic-historical theme. Martyrdom on ice. Paganism or the cross. The time has come to join the ranks. Take up your sword and face your destiny.” The album has ten songs.

“Crusaders of God (Introduction to the Crusaders]” is a short intro establishing the tale. It quickly segues to “Across the Baltic Sea.” I kind of pegged the music for an AMON AMARTH sound, and sure enough, that’s what I got. The harsh vocals has a very deep and gravely voice, like Johan. The riffs are fairly simple however even though there is some harmony, qualifying in as Melodic Death Metal. “The Iron Fist of the Lance Shaft” has a deep and heavy, earth-shaking sound, although it’s a little thin. You can hear the tale seeping from the main riff. They go very deep in the breakdown. “The Night Before the Battle” is another short segue to set up the next movement of the album.

In “The Power to Fight,” the impending battle looms. Soldiers are grabbing spears, sharpening their swords, and saying their prayers…something like “Odin, grant us victory, but if we fail, welcome us to Valhalla with open arms.” The battle commences in “Clash of the Titans.” Swords clash and shields splinter in the bloody fight. The guitar harmonies and thick bass notes help accentuate the battle, which rages on for many days. “The Teutonic Charge” is one of the big pushes of the battle, and the music rages forward aligned with the title of the song. It’s heavy, brutal, and punishing. “Fields of Death” is a dark and energetic song. Picture the offensive. Blood and bodies are everywhere, and killing is indiscriminate.

“Novgorod Arise” is the final defeat, and the victors can claim their prize. The music is more melodic then other offerings on the album, and thick with backing elements. “Triumph of the Pagan Warriors” closes the tale. It is not a song with less sonic quality, which you might expect. The slow pace and guitar harmonies however tell the tale of lament for their fallen brethren. This was a good listen, and one of the few albums where the songs and tale were reflected in the music very well. Grab your sword and shield, take up arms, and get ready for the fight of your life. You may not return.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Crusaders of God
\[Introduction to the Crusaders]2. Across the Baltic Sea \[Ascent of the Northern Campaigns]
3. The Iron Fist on the Lance Shaft \[The Teutonic Knights March to War]
4. The Night Before the Battle
\[Bonfires, Prayers and Songs at the Teutonic Camp]5. The Power to Fight \[Peipus Lake April 5th, 1242 - Dawn of the Battle of the Ice]
6. Clash of Titans \[The Battle Begins]
7. The Teutonic Charge
\[Bishop Hermann of Dorpat Leading the Charge]8. Fields of Death \[Nevsky's Ambush]
9. Novgorod Arise \[Defeat of the Teutonic Knights]
10. Triumph of the Pagan Warriors \[Lament for the Fallen Ones]
Àlex Martínez – Bass, Vocals
Marc Storm – Vocals
Xavi Puiggalí – Drums
Jaume Roca – Guitars
Thomas Meier – Guitars
Record Label: Independent


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