Pagan metal is one of those styles that always a little tricky for me as sometimes it just feels like a name that some black metal artists use to make themselves sound different on paper, but when you actually hear the music it’s not that different. But there are, of course, a few acts that really manage to bring glory to the idea of the style in a great way, and it was Nordland that last did that for me with “European Paganism”, and it’s with this brand new album that they’ve done it yet again.
Many times I listen to pagan metal, you can really feel a connection with nature in some form that’s at play within the music itself as the black metal in question goes down a darker path than something like folk metal but not without paying the proper amount of homage to the natural forces, and that’s something I really liked about Nordland when I first heard them. That’s not to say that it’s not present within “The Dead Stones” as it’s clearly there, but it’s not as prevalent but it’s still there as Nordland brings some more melodic elements to the mix that really allow these nine tracks to feel distinctly different in just the proper amounts. That makes for an incredibly potent mix in the end as Nordland does nothing but dominate with this album. “The Dead Stones” is a few steps behind what I’d consider great or something that really brings the best elements of the style together, but it is without a doubt something monumental that shows the power that’s still behind Nordland as they’ve added yet another fantastic record to their catalog. There’s not much to not enjoy about this record from the vocals that a simply exquisite, ripping guitars and bass that pull off the perfect riffs and just know where to hit every single time, drums with the most engaging beats, and an approach that’s all but amazingly enticing.
It’s honestly hard to find the words for this record as even though this isn’t a record that’s so amazingly great I’m at a loss for words, but it’s just a continuation of the greatness of Nordland that they’ve been dishing out for years so at some point I’m just repeating myself. Nonetheless, “The Dead Stones” is, as I’ve said, another great addition that’s something to really sink your teeth into and enjoy in earnest.
LISTEN to “The Dead Stones” on Bandcamp here.
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