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Album Review: Northward – Northward

What happens when you put together two of the best musicians in the metal scene for a new kind of rock porject? Something decidedly extraordinary. This is definitely the case of Northward’s inception, and its’ start-studded duo. The project’s seeds date back to 2007, when Pagans Mind and Nightwish were both attending the Progpower Festival in the us.

Nightwish’s vocalist Floor Jansen spontaneously joined Pagans Mind guitarist Jorn Viggo Lofted on stage for some cover songs, and their chemistry had been apparent from the get-go. It did not take long for the two to realize that they had to hit the studio together and explore their love for back-to-basics hard rock music.

Soon after their meeting, Floor and Jorn Viggo composed a full album worth of explosive original material, but nothing came of it for quite a few years, due to scheduling conflicts, tight schedules and commitments with other projects. However, these songs are finally available now and the Northward project has finally found its way out of the tape vaults and into our speakers!

Northward’s sound is quite different from the lavish metal embellishments of Floor and Jorn’s former bands, and in a way, it tips the hat off to modern rock icons such as Alter Bridge, Foo Fighters or Skunk Annie, as well as timeless rock gurus such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, just to mention but a few.

It’s all about massive riffs and energetic rhythm sections, supported by Floor’s far-reaching vocal performances. With her work as a singer in Nightwish, Floor showed the audience her ability to achieve astounding dynamics and intriguing vocal melodies that matched the band’s eclectic scope. However, Northward is definitely all about stripping everything down to the bare essential, and Floor’s fantastic vocals sound as gritty and direct as ever.

When listening to these songs, the passion is palpable and the affinity between these musicians is on a very high level! These songs have been written a few years ago, but they feel just as fresh as if they had been conceived yesterday, partly due to the band’s ongoing passion and commitment to the project, and partly due to the involvement of talented producer Jacob Hansen, also known for his work with Volbeat and other rock acts.

In addition to Floor and Jorn Viggo, the album also features Morty Black (TNT) on bass, as well as Jango Nielsen and Stian Kristoffersen (Pagans Mind), as well as guest appearances from Irene Jansen (Floor’s sister) and Ronny Tegner (Pagans Mind), who contributed with his piano playing in one of the songs.

What really stands out about this release is definitely the fact that it is a labour of love, plain and simple. Floor and Jorn Viggo didn’t try to cash in on their reputation, creating an exact clone of their successful bands. Instead, they tried different ideas, broke new ground and explored a style of music that they seem to be having the time of their life playing.

If you enjoy rock and roll music that’s hard-hitting, yet melodic, you will enjoy Northward, and their ability to create powerful songs with no frills – it’s just straight-up, in-your-face, energetic songwriting that will stand the test of time, as shown by the inception of this project already, which still feels fresh and direct, in spite of the fact that the songs have been in the pipelines for quite a few years now, just waiting to be released and more importantly, performed live!

Release Date: October 18, 2018
Run Time: 49:58
Label: Nuclear Blast

Track Listing:
1 While Love Died
2 Get What You Give
3 Storm in a Glass
4 Drifting Islands
5 Paragon
6 Let Me Out
7 Big Boy
8 Timebomb
9 Bridle Passion
10 I Need
11 Northwards

Folk N’ Rocks recommended albums are for releases in the Rock, and various fusion styles of rock subgenres, that we feel are essential. Albums awarded this badge are also top contenders for our “best of” end of the year list. To see all genres, check out our Recommended Albums

Rating

Overall Score - 9.5

9.5

Excellent

A phenomenal debut project from a different side by two well-respected artists who set out to share their undying passion for quality rock music.

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User Rating: 4.03 ( 7 votes)
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