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Northland - Downfall And Rebirth Award winner

Downfall And Rebirth
by Matt "Wolverine" Johnson at 16 January 2015, 6:49 PM

Leave the light behind you as you trudge on toward the uncertain darkness of "Downfall and Rebirth," the new album by Spanish Folk Metal sextet NORTHLAND! Their first release since 2010, this album hails as their triumphant return to the scene and casts a strange, uplifting darkness over the listener's ears and gently tickles the mind with the delightful medley of traditional instruments, then blasts the ear drums with the thunder of brilliant Heavy Metal.

How wonderful the melodies are and how angry are the instruments. This album puts NORTHLAND in the arena of great Folk/Heavy Metal names as ELUVEITIE, FINNTROLL and ENSIFERUM. There is talent aplenty in the songwriting and composition and it all translates so nicely from paper or digital media through the audio channels. Echoing over the darkened themes portrayed in the song titles is some of the most dynamic music I've ever heard, as though I am looking through the eyes of a horseman with time sped up, sending me side to side through a winding forest path. There are several songs that give me that sensation, so it's kind of misleading to point out one specifically. There is this really awesome bass riff in "Whispers in the Wind" near the end of the song, so listen for that.

To me, this is great theme music but more along the lines of the Lord of the Rings movies given machine guns, fast cars and perpetual action sequences. Despite that, it maintains its regality and commands reverence. There are countless parts that left me spellbound at how beautiful the music of "Downfall and Rebirth" is, ranging from Celtic influences to the style of so-called Viking Metal.

I applaud the band members as musicians for their dexterity and accomplished skill level on their respective instruments. These are great minds put together in a mold and their Metal was purified in a foundry, extracting any gunk and leaving behind only the purest and most high quality product. I must also give recognition to a registry of guests that appear on the album:  Jordi Clapés on flutes, Pau Segalés on the bodhran, Eric Baule as guest vocals on Downfall & Rebirth, and the mesmerizing chants of Lady Morte as guest vocals on Moonlight Spell.

This full-size album is chock full of amazing music and certainly goes in the books as one of the greats in their genre. Each song rings of its own tune and though they blend well together in sequence, they don't repeat each other nor do they lack in any aspect of what sound Metal is. I loved the vocals both harsh and clean. There were times where an ensemble of voices sing the melodies and provides another special element of classical music included with the rest of the music. This is high-quality enchanting Metal, and listeners with an ear for Classical nuances will be extremely pleased, so prepare yourselves for "Downfall and Rebirth!"

5 Star Rating

1. When Nature Awakes
2. Bloodred Sunrise
3. Together We Die
4. The Rite
5. Fury's Unleashed
6. Duskriders
7. Spirit in Darkness
8. Whispers in the Wind
9. Downfall and Rebirth
10. Moonlight Spell
11. Newborn Star
Pau Murillo - Vocals, Guitars, Jaw Harp
Alex Fernández - Guitars
Vic A. Granell – Bass, backing vocals
Pau Vázquez - Violin
Pol Lemaire – Keyboard, backing vocals
Jose Rosendo - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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