Northsong - Winter's Dominion (2011)




Not everyone needs a solid group of musicians to put together an awesome album. Sometimes being a solo project is the way to go. In Northsong's case, this is one of those bands. Cortland Runyon is the founder and the only member of Northsong. He has released his new album, entitled "Winter's Dominion." The album is a mixture of symphonic and folk metal with heavy viking metal tones.

Right from the beginning, the Prelude has a glorious mix of strings, distorted guitars and double bass pedal drumming. The instruments run smoothly together as you will find them well orchestrated. The chords bring such an uplifting feeling to the album as the strings rise high setting up a great build up to the rest of the album. "Mountains Of Madness" comes fading in afterwards with a magnificent growl that will knock you down immediately. The drums explode into the scene with fist pumping patterns. The guitar riffs are catchy with basic chords blasting away with the bass. The deliver of the vocals are astonishing. The growls are harsh yet you can still understand the lyrics pretty well.

"Heathen War" comes bursting in with fast thunderous guitar riffs and ridiculously detail double bass drumming. A hateful growl fills the air luring you into the reckless verses. A jolly synth comes in half way through the verse giving a strong folk tone to the mix. The growls are relentless as you are constantly hit with lyric after lyric. This is a great up beat track to really get you moving. "Desperation" gets even heavier as more violent guitars take over the beginning. They are accompanied by another jolly melody from the synths in the background. The drums will have you bobbing your head in no time as the guitars continue to thrash away at you. The song may only be about three minutes long but it really packs a punch.

Coming up next is a soothing instrumental called "Winter's Dominion." It opens with a gorgeous acoustic melody combined with angelic stings that surround you with emotion. The guitars enter later with tons of distortion and exploding drums to back them up. This track will make you feel like you are in an epic scene in a movie. As it fades you will run into the final track, entitled "Let Death Be Our Pride," which is a Windrider cover. It runs for about 7 minutes along and contains lots of orchestral instruments mixed with heavy chugging guitar riffs. The vocals go back and forth between demonic growling and clean singing. It sounds like vikings chanting in the distance. The drum rolls become a little repetitive as the same hi hat crashes constantly in the background and the beat of the snare hits on every other beat. Besides that the rest of the track is pretty solid and is right down your alley if epic folk metal is what you're looking for.

Northsong doesn't quite stand out from the list of other well known folk metal bands as you'll notice a lot of similar sounds from bands like Amon Amarth and Ensiferum. However, the music is fantastic, the recording is excellent, and the performance is outstanding. This is great music that will not leave you disappointed. Don't miss out on this one!

8/10

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