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Norsemen - Bloodlust

by Jack Harding at 29 May 2019, 1:56 AM

Upon hearing the name NORSEMEN, an image is instantly formed in the mind. Such a name can’t help but create some sort of preconceived notion. I’ll be the first to admit that the image conjured for me by this nom de plume, was not a positive one. When I think of Viking themed metal, I am struck with visions of cheesy power metal, taken far too seriously by a legion of neck-bearded ‘World Of Warcraft’ players. A rather stereotypical image, but all culture has its context, no matter how unflattering. So, when beginning ‘Bloodlust’ by NORSEMEN I was certainly expecting a very particular genre of metal. Thus my shock, when upon first listen, I discovered a total absence of the particularly unflattering amounts of cheese the genre is partial to. In fact, what we actually have here is a pretty standard Death Metal release. If anything, the cheese would have been more intriguing…

After a mostly superfluous introduction with the imaginatively titled ‘Intro’, the album kicks of with the track ‘Evil Master’. With furious chugged riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a Tech Death release, launching the song, one groove morphs seamlessly into the next. The only real issue with this song is the repetitive nature. The two riffs written here are great. However, repeating the same two riffs over and over for four minutes straight? Not so great. Once interesting riffs become monotonous and are drained of any potential. Save for a bridge section with some slight change, and an uninspired guitar solo, a potentially great song is left a confused, repetitive slurry.

This issue of repetition really plagues this release. Upon first listen, I was genuinely really enjoying this album, until roughly track five, when I realized that I had just listened to essentially the same song over and over again. The riffs written are effective when appreciated in isolation, but taking this album as a whole, the repetition simply extinguishes the individual merits of the songs. Songs such as ‘Black Mountain’, ‘Bloodlust’ and ‘Surtur’ all blend into each other, bringing nothing unique to the table. This would be totally fine if ‘Norsemen’ were a unique beast in their own right, but unfortunately they are not. They are just another bland Death Metal band regurgitating the same old riffs that became boring decades ago. You could buy this record, or you could equally go out to any metal venue and see four local bands that are equally as competent. This isn’t a criticism of NORSEMEN specifically, but more a criticism of the over saturation of the scene. You need something special to stand out nowadays, as anyone can create a record on their phone and upload it to Spotify. NORSEMEN simply do not have that special something. The Viking imagery even exaggerates this. It is as if they realized that they had nothing to set them apart from other bands, so they decided to jump on the Viking Metal bandwagon, because AMON AMARTH are still popular. All this does is make the absence of new ideas even more apparent though!

NORSEMEN are not a bad band, and ‘Bloodlust’ is not a bad album. It just has nothing unique or new to say. Everything on this record has been done before, and done much, much better. They are simply a symptom of an over-saturated market.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 4
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Evil Master
3. Black Mountain
4. Fenrir
5. Bloodlust
6. Odin
7. Serpent
8. Surtur
9. Warriors Fate
10. Time Wrecked Kingdom
Antonio Brignoli - Guitar
Beppe Bergamaschi - Bass Guitar
Paolo Munziello - Drum
Federico Rota - Vocals
Record Label: Time to Kill Records


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Edited 25 September 2022

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