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Nothgard - Age Of Pandora Award winner

Age Of Pandora
by Matt Coe at 09 August 2014, 4:52 AM

These days in the Death Metal world, the sky seems limitless for what you can put together to develop your particular niche. In the case of Germany’s NOTHGARD the quintet employ a triple guitar attack, as a result creating a multitude of melodic/harmonic elements that have an Epic and sometimes Folk/Viking spirit to them. Founding in 2008 and going through typical growing pains in terms of lineup changes, the band would release a debut album “Warhorns of Midgard” in 2011 and got the chance to perform on stages across Europe with SKYFORGER, KROMLEK, and NORTHLAND among others.

By 2012 the current lineup stabilized, and set about recording the follow up full-length “Age of Pandora”. The band describe their way of setting up harmonies and interplay as sort of a ‘Guitar Orchestra’ – and I would certain concur when taking in a lot of the blazing lead breaks and instrumental sections of early highlights “Wings of Dawn” and the Folk-ish “Blackened Seed”. Lead guitarist Dom R. Crey handles double duty on vocals, and he has a raspy nature that brings up Alexi of CHILDREN OF BODOM, but the band also use a lot of those mead hall choir parts to fill out the word landscape – and probably encourage a lot of audience sing a longs during live concerts.

The pacing isn’t always fast – the band can lock into some killer mid-tempo riffs where bassist Vik S. takes on some killer groove aspects on “Black Witch Venture” as the three guitarists fill all the sonic pockets through a series of point/ counterpoint rhythms and quick hitting harmonies. IRON MAIDEN, IN FLAMES, and WINTERSUN are three bands I sense all the axe men have a sincere affinity for. For a change, keyboards appear to be used for a symphonic layer and not the dominant driving force for NOTHGARD – this is an Epic Melodic Death Metal band that prefer to use electric guitars, bass, drums, and extreme vocals to convey their creativity and instincts.

The 7:18 “No One Holds the Crown” ends the album on a majestic note : militant drum rolls, killer guitar harmonies, blast beats, and adrenaline shifting riffs keep your ears abuzz and make this one of the best songs in this genre I’ve heard this year. Well-constructed and brilliantly executed, “Age of Pandora” should put NOTHGARD in great company for the top rungs of Epic Melodic Death Metal.

4 Star Rating

1. Of Light and Shadow
2. Age of Pandora
3. Blackened Seed
4. Black Witch Venture
5. In Blood Remained
6. Anima
7. Obey the King
8. Wings of Dawn
9. Mossback Children
10. No One Holds the Crown
Dom R. Crey – Vocals, Lead Guitar
Daniel K. – Rhythm Guitar
Skaahl – Rhythm Guitar
Vik S. – Bass
D. Ziegler – Drums
Record Label: Trollzorn Records


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Edited 02 February 2023

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