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Nomans Land – Last Crusade

Nomans Land
Last Crusade
by Tim Bolitho-Jones at 03 June 2015, 2:24 PM

There’s a forlorn looking Knight on the album cover. Their website has a sword stuck in the ground as the lead image. The record’s title is “Last Crusade.” That’s right, Russian four-piece NOMANS LAND (sic) are a…Viking Metal band?

Okay, so it’s a bit surprising to hear about the raw masculinity of rowing shirtless with your battle brothers in a longboat when you’re expecting a Power Metal retelling of Templars Versus Saracens bloodletting, but NOMANS LAND are still a fun listen. There’s a wealth of gruff vocals, folky melodies and choruses that sound like hordes of hairy men bellowing drunkenly together, all of which make it an enjoyable jaunt through the Dark Ages but not an essential purchase. NOMANS LAND do the job, but they have a ‘perpetual support band’ feel about them.

On the plus side, they have crafted a decent bunch of songs here. Most of them follow the same format and move at a similar pace, but they still have enough character to stand out as individuals. “Strain At The Oars” and “Dragons” have all the machismo of MANOWAR or GRAND MAGUS and they get just enough Folk in to keep things upbeat but without deteriorating into frilly-shirt or maypole dancing territory.

On the other hand though, there’s an awful lot of Berzerkers crowding the hall right now and while NOMANS LAND are good, they’re not going to replace ENSLAVED as anyone’s favourite band on the basis of this record. The broken-English lyrics don’t help and while the musicians are all very competent, they don’t excel or let rip maniacally until the closing “Bereza,” which ends the album well but doesn’t launch it into the stratosphere.

If this sounds harsh it’s not meant to be as NOMANS LAND are a perfectly decent band with a brace of good songs up their sleeves. There’s nothing particularly wrong with ‘Last Crusade’ and it’s only real crime is being overly familiar.  Devotees of all things Nordic will find plenty to raise their horns to, but they’re not likely to persuade anyone who doesn’t already own a set of chainmail to go out and buy any.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Right To Luck
2. Sons Of The Nord
3. Victory Horns
4. Strain At The Oars
5. Dragons
6. Last Crusade
7. Warriors Path
8. Bereza
Lineup:
Sigurd – Vocals, Guitars
Hjervard – Bass
Ainar – Drums
Aleksandr ‘Nevskij’ - Guitars
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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