The sounds released on “Mirror Of Madness” are definitely Finnish, even if you’d never heard about NORTHER you would’ve guessed that this album was made in Scandinavia’s arctic region.
The band’s music can be divided into two segments. One is the classic formation of twin guitar assaults, galloping double bass drumming, icy keys and brutal vocals, the classic case of wanting to combine melody with aggression and fastness, the second is an epic and frosty landscape with slower rhythms where the keyboards play a prominent role even if not fully interacting with the rest of the instruments.
The latter approach I consider the band’s unique point with tracks like “Of Darkness And Light”, “Cry” and the very sad “Dead” being songs based on high compositional scales for these young men displaying professional and thrilling execution skills.
Many will shout and curse the band for being just another C.O.B. rip-off, but thankfully their perceptions aren’t to be taken much into account because NORTHER do not sound entirely like the hatecrew, maybe a little here and there you know with the shout choirs, neo classical playing etc etc, but to call them a rip-off just won’t do.
First of all, NORTHER are more controlled in almost every aspect, try and listen to “Something Wild” or any C.O.B. album, then put on “Mirror Of Madness” and you’ll both notice and understand what I’m saying here. Secondly and many are fairly agreed on this statement, NORTHER are more epic when it comes to generating genuine, almost celestial atmospheres; if they got the chance to record with an orchestra, people would’ve started talking… maybe some day, I certainly hope so.
NORTHER stand on firm ground and are capable of going all guns blazing in tracks like the awesome opening couplet “Blackhearted” and “Betrayed”; I must stress that the two tracks share too many parallels to my liking but they’re still executed brilliantly.
The throat of Petri Lindroos is young of age, which is also heard in his intensive screams. Sometimes his deadly vocals verge towards insanity, much like Peter Tägtgren going ape on a good day, both thumbs up for this guy for being real.
Be it Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal or Black Metal fans, NORTHER are a band worth discovering if you like this kind of Extreme Metal meshing with supportive keyboards. (Online October 9, 2004)