Finland’s creativity plants never seem to come to a rest, because not even a year after their last album “Mirror Of Madness” we now already have “Death Unlimited”. That the band around Tony Hallio and Petri Lindroos hardly had any sort of originality on offer on their previous two efforts, was a problem that at least partly could be balanced out by the class of the songs, while many people prophesied that they would have to change not to stay stuck in a sound that one already knew from other bands.
Well, apparently NORTHER have taken this criticism to heart, because on “Death Unlimited“ they have made some adjustments to their sound, which I would not really have expected like that. OK, opener “Deep Inside“ (after the obligatory intro „Nightfall“) breaks through with a very fat produced double bass thunderstorm that you almost automatically are pressed ten centimetres into the back of your chair, power definitely is not a problem of NORTHER, no doubts about that!
The songs sets out with a primordial force, keyboards in the background and super melodic guitars, followed by a barrage of riffs, fattest drumming, well implemented keyboards and the rough voice of front elk Pete Lindroos, including a shout chorus, still does not sound too original (if a bit heavier than on the previous album), but with such energy and good melodies and arrangements I honestly couldn’t care less. The following title track adds another brick, with more thrashy riffs added to the already mentioned elements, the keyboards also have taken a step forward compared to “Mirror Of Madness”, which gives the whole thing a pretty interesting touch.
That they haven’t completely crossed over into new, heavier waters, is shown right away by “Chasm”, which takes out a lot of the speed and is even catchier than before, another very strong song! To make up for it, though, “Vain” puts the pedal to the metal and combines the fat double bass and heavy guitars with at times spheric keyboards and almost a kind of piano sound, a contrast that really works very well as they also accordingly adjust the intensity of the songs. And they continue in this vein, I think that NORTHER are on a good way to finally find their sound that also shows some originality, because class definitely is not the problem of these Finns!
Altogether it becomes pretty obvious that NORTHER have turned a bit more complex, here and there also with added heaviness, the keyboards are a bit more prominent again and overall they present themselves more variable than ever. Surely comparisons with the usual suspects (from the own country) will be pulled out of the hat, but still I think that NORTHER are on the right way and “Death Unveiled” without a doubt is their strongest album so far! (Online April 14, 2004)