has always been closely associated with fellow Finns CHILDREN OF BODOM
, not just in terms of location, but in style and musical progression. When CHILDREN OF BODOM
simplified their sound and made their music accessible, NORTHER
was not far behind, kind of like a little brother that follows his big brother around and copies everything he does. There was a large shift in the NORTHER
camp a couple of years ago when founder and bandleader Petri Lindroos
left the band to focus on ENSIFERUM
. He was replaced by Aleksi Sihvonen
, who exclusively does vocals and Daniel Freyberg
, who plays guitar and performs backing vocals.
To their credit, NORTHER
has gone off on their own trajectory with “Circle Regenerated
.” They do not sink to the lows heard on “Blooddrunk
,” which was a horrible album and the final nail in the coffin for CHILDREN OF BODOM
as far as I am concerned. They regularly employ clean vocals, which is something CHILDREN OF BODOM
has never done up until this point, most likely because Laiho
is a horrific singer.
Unfortunately, while “Circle Regenerated
” is certainly different from the previous and much maligned “N
,” it is not a return to the sound of previous albums. This new vocalist is pretty bland and adds nothing. The clean vocals (performed by longtime guitarist Kristian Ranta
) are nothing to get excited about either. There are some promising moments, like the opening of “Believe
” and parts of “Falling
” (which at times sounds like AMORPHIS
), but the former is ruined by a painfully generic chorus and the latter never takes off like one would hope. The only one that had quality throughout is opener “Through It All
,” but even that fails to measure up to past successes.
The sound itself is boring Gothenburg sound mixed with modern IN FLAMES
garbage and even a bit of screamo (*vomit*), so that all of the positive elements, such as some high-quality Finnish melodies and very good bass and keyboard performances are canceled out. I am not even sure if I would, at the end of the day, rank this higher than “N
”. It is hard to recommend an album of this quality when there are so many superior albums being made by Finnish metal bands like KALMAH
and others. You’d be better off passing on this one.