Where would you place a band with the name NORDHEIM? Most probably Scandinavia. I also had expected something Swedish or Finnish, but no, this sextet hails from sunny Brazil, so rather SOUTHHEIM… And looking at the album title "River Of Death" I rather expected Death Metal or something like that. So what is it that comes out of the speakers? Best Heavy/Power Metal.
But do not roll up your eyes and say "Again!", because NORDHEIM thankfully are not the seventh copy of the eighth son of the ninth clone, but stand on their own feet, without striking the connoisseur of traditional Heavy/Power Metal into flight by abstract soundscapes or adventurous influences. One aspect that definitely marks NORDHEIM from many others is the fact that they do not only have the great clear voice of Helio Oliver (Brazilian relative of house Oliva?), but also a few Death Metal vocals (by guitarist Gustavo Silveira), not as many as with AUBERON, for example, but just enough to bring in a nice accentuation.
Which brings me to the next point right away, which is not unique and seems to be getting more and more fashionable, but comparable to IRON MAIDEN NORDHEIM, too, have a triple axe attack, consisting of Gustavo Silveira, Davis Ramay (who share the lead work) and Roberto Sans (even though I could not find any bass in the line up, maybe that's a little slip up in the line up, so that one of the three guitarists actually is bassist), which at times hand out great twin duels, which remind me of the NWoBHM and also create very good riffs, in combination with the tight and driving rhythm section this results in an explosive and energetic mix, which is further pepped up by a few keyboards, which yet never push into the fore.
Altogether they are a bit more "down to earth", meaning that they do not follow the STRATOGAMMAWEEN rail, but rather offer us a mix of traditional Heavy Metal and Power Metal, which is shown in the accessible, but not so obviously catchy choruses and also the altogether a bit deeper and powerful voice of Helio Oliva, which handles a powerful roar as well as a shrill Metal scream.
With that the Brazilians have managed to record a whole string of damn good songs, beginning with the gripping title track at the very beginning and continuing with breakers like "Raining Fire", the heavier "Easy Rider" or the great closing trio "Hammer Of Gods", "Damnation Of Gods (Ragnarok)" (an intro) and "The Metal March!" (which could almost be from a MYSTIC PROPHECY album, very strong vocals here!), which all are in the upper echelons of Metal and have tight musicianship, a lot of power and also a certain originality.
Also to be pointed out are the powerful and clear production from (altogether three) different studios and the a bit martial booklet, which together with the cover and the song titles originally had me on the wrong track concerning the contained music. So don't let that shy you off!
All in all "River Of Death" has turned out to be a very positive surprise, which nicely differs from the common Power Metal productions and I would recommend this to every fan of this style! (Online October 24, 2003)