With “Dreams Of Endless War” being released in 2002, “Mirror Of Madness” in 2003 and “Death Unlimited” in 2004, there’s no point in denying the fact that NORTHER are on a roll. You can’t call the band a bunch of Bodom novices anymore, not after you’ve been through such a killer Metal ride as offered on “Death Unlimited”.
I don’t think that NORTHER ever was below C.O.B. On this new album they prove to be better than Alexi’s hatecrew. The album entertains the listener with a lethal round of sonic Death/Thrash Metal heaviness and eruptive solo work, a true feast for the traditional Metal head.
NORTHER can do so much more than that. Tuomas Planman’s epic keyboard atmospheres and neo-classical soloing raises the tightness and technical efficiency even further. I really like his instrumental piece entitled “Beneath”, he’s got some magical fingers and is not afraid to use them it seems. The bands musical vision is predictable: they don’t plan on loosing their integrity but more room for keyboards and electronics has to be made if the sound is to remain interesting. We’ve seen this progression overdone too many times and sometimes done the wrong way; NORTHER’s progression indeed demands more keyboards as they’ve always had a deep sense of atmospherics.
The band still loves the old school Thrash/Death riffing, “Deep Inside”, “Hollow” and the bombing title track are packed with explosive guitars and sharp drumming which is sure to raise some eyebrows. I’m glad to hear that Toni has added more variation to his fills, he can do they fast double bass stuff without problems but variation always seemed to lack from his side... until now that is.
Some of the new sides of the band are heard in the almost 7 minute epic “Day Of Redemption”; this is a great song with intensity from beginning to end, one of my favourite NORTHER songs ever! “Nothing” sort of continues where “Dead” left, sorrowful and very heavy with Pete Lindroos crying out the emptiness that he has inside.
Lindroos and Kride challenge themselves more and more on each album, they’ve almost reached the top with the solos they’ve put into the songs on “Death Unlimited”. “Vain” and “A Fallen Star” (this song introduces clean vocals in the chorus) have these ludicrous dual lead solos from both guitarists that put a fat smile on your face, precision and complexity combined perfectly, enjoy!
My only problem with “Death Unlimited” is the vocals. There are moments when Lindroos focuses too hard on making them more brutal than needed; there’s too much distortion on his high pitched screaming, I find it annoying.
2004 already has a long list of great Metal albums. This album has a reserved spot on that list because of its flawless execution and divine sound. Yours to purchase = “Death Unlimited”. (Online May 4, 2004)