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Norhod - Voices From The Ocean

Voices From The Ocean
by Anton Sanatov at 05 May 2016, 1:00 PM

"Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink."  (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner')

In this infinite realm we call the 'metal world' we may often come across an otherworldly creature, or some other normally inconceivable phenomena, only to be too overwhelmed, nay, baffled by its conduct. I suppose that any venturer into this foreign land may at times be stumped beyond words at certain junctures in his travels. This is not for fear or lack of knowledge, but simply due to the fact that on some level he is fascinated by the peculiarities of the being - and yet at the same time repulsed by many aspects of its nature. I selected that particular quote from Coleridge's opus not only for its thematic befitting, but because it also aptly illustrates one's position when faced with NORHOD's "Voices From The Ocean"; for it is a conflicting cyclone of contradictions that brings the shipmaster to a perplexing standstill.

The sea is a harsh mistress and perhaps I shall begin by adhering to her code of conduct. A vast portion of this album is a mess; and not in a fun, crazy, 'math-core' kind of way. Much like a storm that it so desperately attempts to emulate, the first part of the album is a swarm of excessive drumming and turbulent changes in tone that no guitar riff or keyboard chord can survive. At times it sounds as if the studio is equipped with a sole recording microphone that each band member is desperately trying to get to in order to blast through his/her part before being shoved aside by other eager members of the mob. Although NORHOD do manage to successfully set the scene, and their enthusiasm is one of the record's predominant highlights, songs like "Endless Ocean", "The Abyss of Knowledge" and "Bleeding Path" clearly lack focus and suffer from a lack of equilibrium.

Now we move onto calmer waters. "Voices From The Ocean" steadies its masts with tracks like the emotive, folk-influenced ballad "July Rain", the Nordic song of "Son of the Moon (A Moon Tale - Part VI)” and the sensible rowing pace of "Farthest Dream". These songs deviate from the rest of the record in their maturity and prove that the band can apply their talents in sensible measure; the glimpses of redemption on their horizon.

The production is satisfactory, albeit slightly over-processed, and the performances of the band members, as I have mentioned earlier, are enthusiastic but lack direction. The growling vocals of Giacomo "Jev" Casa - which may be considered as valid supplementation to the songs - mostly feel out of place alongside Clara Ceccarelli angelic serenades. There are symphonic metal bands for whom this juxtaposition works, and does so gloriously, but here it simply adds to the uncoordinated compositions.

Overall, even though the voyage may have brought the "Voices From The Ocean" home, the port has seen far more successful forays into the seas. And whilst this frigate might have promise of adventure in the future, this time around the journey has taken its hefty toll.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

  1. Storm
  2. Endless Ocean
  3. The Abyss of Knowledge
  4. July Rain
  5. Bleeding Path
  6. Son of the Moon (A Moon Tale - Part IV)
  7. Farthest Dream
  8. Last Chant
Clara Ceccarelli - Vocals
Giacomo "Jev" Casa - Vocals (Growl)
Giacomo Vannucci - Guitars
Andrea "Bistru" Stefani - Guitars
Michele Tolomei - Keyboards
Federico Masi – Drums
Record Label: Wormholedeath - Dreamcell 11 / Aural Music


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