As someone who’s always been fascinated by realms of high fantasy that are rich with lore and atmosphere to no end, I’ve always been partial to folk metal of several forms, yet I’m extremely picky about it. Mix it with black metal to form up some pagan metal and we get into something that I tend to agree with much more. But it takes the right band to do such, and the UK would not have been the first place I looked, but it’s given me Nordland who’s set of pagan metal is nothing short of delectable.
There’s always some sort of appeal to a band that tends to lean towards lengthy songs that stretch over five minutes at the bare minimum; they seem to go all in with their music and really challenge their skills as musicians as well as entice the listener to a more cinematic experience. However, a band that has the balls to go for a song that’s not only longer than 10 minutes, or even 20, but almost fucking 30 minutes long has an allure that I can’t deny. It’s simply too intriguing for me, and that’s what drew me to “European Paganism” as the first of the album’s three tracks stretches for over 27 fucking minutes long! And thankfully, Nordland has the knowledge to pull it off splendidly as well as have it serve as a fantastic prelude to two shorter epic pieces of pagan metal that are simply immaculate. “European Paganism” from start to finish is a harsh, unrelenting, and immensely entrancing album that really grips the listener and then takes them to the darkest reaches of nature for a ride like few others. But it’s not all chaos and fury within this record, Nordland also manages to incorporate a magnificent sense of rhythm and melody that’s no less than stunning, to say the least, as it works phenomenally well with everything else that goes on within the contents of “European Paganism”. I’ve heard plenty of pagan metal albums in my days, but few have been able to be so splendidly balanced and remain true to the very roots of the style to the extent of Nordland, and with plenty of efforts before this album I’m more than positive in saying that the years have been kind to this British band, and I can only see them going up in the future.
I’ve heard plenty of pagan metal albums in my days, but few have been able to be so splendidly balanced and remain true to the very roots of the style to the extent of Nordland, and with plenty of efforts before this album I’m more than positive in saying that the years have been kind to this British band, and I can only see them going up in the future. Is “European Paganism” the most unique or wondrously spectacular piece of its style in my eyes? Not quite, but it’s close because it’s got loads of taste, enough to talent to satisfy anyone willing to listen, and the proof that Nordland has the guts to do what few others will do musically. And if that’s not amazing to you, then maybe the flavorful trip that is “European Paganism” will grasp you instead.
LISTEN to “European Paganism” on Bandcamp here.
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