Nordheim are a folk metal band playing a style of music that draws on death metal, melodic power metal and even a touch of old school thrash if you listen hard enough. These guys have embraced that style of storytelling that uses humour in equal measure with serious full-on power. You could be excused for actually missing the lyrical light-heartedness such is the sophistication of the music in their newest offering – ‘Rapthor’.
The band have been prowling the Quebec music scene for some time now and their line up of Warraxe (vocals and rhythm guitar), Fred (lead guitar), BenFok (bass) and Lucas (drums) translate to a healthy schedule on the live circuit if only locally for the time being.
Their influences are obvious with a respectful nod to the likes of Ensiferum, Finntroll and Korpiklaani indicating their love of all things Scandinavian. The previous releases in 2010 of ‘Lost in the North’ and ‘Refill’ in 2013, were solid (but raw) efforts and they have used that foundation to develop into a more rounded and consistent band with this release.
Opening with ‘Troll Riding a Raptor’, there is no time for an unoriginal slow-build as the double kick of Lucas drives a lightning fast riff monster that could be regarded as lacking direction but for the twin guitars binding the song. The song settles well however with Warraxe’s snarled vocals intertwining with both growled backing and a more melodic ‘sung’ line.
There’s no time to breathe as the album batters into the interestingly titled ‘Boobs and Bacon’ which features an anthemic backing vocal providing the support to a tighter and punchier delivery. There are solos on this album and this track features an altogether Kerry King-esque dive-bombing piece on lead guitar. Splendid! Tracks ‘Scroll of Lightning Bolt’, ‘Strength Became the Storm’ and ‘Bloods Shade’ are full on head-bangers with solid rhythm sections that don’t pause for breath until the obligatory bridge where keyboards provide the texture that is needed in such a full-on delivery.
‘Black Witch Rises’ slows to a slightly less frenetic pace and growls an acknowledgment to the black metal influence in the material. Not so much boobs and bacon in this one! If Nordheim are loyal to the ‘folk’ side of their material then ‘I wish You Were Beer’ will be their anthem. The beer in hand backing vocals are all about a live audience and will have them hold their own alongside the likes of Alestorm and Finntroll.
This is a firmly delivered album that shows the growth of the band from their first demo back in 2010. There are genuine highlights in their work that will be built on with a drive to improve again on the lyrical consistency of the subject matter. There is humour alongside dark and that works because of the musical integrity of the band but it could be argued that deciding on a single direction will target their audience and open up consequent live opportunities. Perhaps demographics and the business of music isn’t what these guys are about, and if not – they should be applauded for playing what they want.....many don’t.
Nordheim say it best themselves in their bold statement – ‘We will kick the shit out of all the music world, one pagan ass at the time!’....I hope so – we need it!
‘Rapthor’ was released on 24th November 2017 independently and is available through the usual outlets and online streaming sites.
Check them out at - https://www.facebook.com/nordheimofficial/
Troll Riding a Raptor
Boobs and Bacon
Scroll of Lightning Bolt
Black Witch Rises
I Wish You Were Beer
Strength Became the Storm