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Neptune - Northern Steel

Northern Steel
by Kevin Lewis at 26 October 2020, 2:59 AM

NEPTUNE is a Swedish Heavy Metal band originally formed in 1980. After going on hiatus in 1987, they reformed in 2017. Forty years after their inception, their first full-length record, Northern Steel, is set to be released November 6, 2020 through Melodic Passion Records. This is a collection of demo songs from their early days, though they sound re-recorded. They production is very good and does not sound like a collection of rough ideas.

The record starts off with “The Prophecy”, a quick, one-minute song that sets up a Viking Metal feel with chants and almost tribal drums. This leads into “Viking Stone”, a song that fits in with the intro piece. The next two songs are “Last Man Standing” and “Fallen Nations”. There is definitely a theme on this record, though it is not a concept album. Similar to their Swedish brethren, SABATON, they speak often of battles, just not specific battles, ala SABATON. While they are similar in lyrical themes, these are very different bands.

Moving farther into the disc, there are songs that are not war/battle based. “Angels” is more about relationships than anything else. Not to worry though, right after that is “Northern Steel”, another epic song or warriors. “Black Rain” and “Run For Your Life” both have that similar feel to the rest of the record. The guitar riffs are all fairly close in sound and rhythm. They aren’t cookie-cutter songs, but there is a definite tone to this record.

Breaking from that mold is “Land Of Northern”, an epic ballad. With a much more melodic sound and a mid-range tempo, this is the song that would get the crowd swaying with their lighters, or more likely cellphones, lit up and chanting along with the chorus. This is probably the most memorable song on the record for me, mainly because of the break with the rest of the record.

NEPTUNE is a band that is a little difficult to pinpoint. Releasing their demos from 30+ years ago is a bit of an anomaly. Many bands want to be known for their newest stuff. These songs are good, solid rockers. I do hope they are writing new music. They have a lot of potential. This is a well-produced, mixed and engineered record, obviously not a bunch of demos just re-released from a long-ago era.

The musicianship is good. The band is solid. The songs are fun to listen to and will make a good transition to the stage if they get to play live. The tunes are easy to digest and the subject matter is popular with a large crowd.

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

4 Star Rating

1. The Prophecy
2. Viking Stone
3. Last Man Standing
4. Fallen Nations
5. Angels
6. Northern Steel
7. Black Rain
8. Run For Your Life
9. Land of Northern
10. Seriously
11. Ruler of the Sea
12. Vanheim
Roland "Rowland Alex" Alexandersson – Vocals
Jan Tosh Andersson – Bass
Jonas Wikström – Drums
Anders "Andy Olson" Olsson – Guitar
Johan Rosth – Keyboards
Guest/Session Musicians:
Pontus Norgren – Guitar (lead) (track 4)
Lars "Chriss" Christmansson – Guitar (track 5)
Record Label: Melodic Passion Records


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Edited 31 May 2023

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