Released: 2008, Black Bards Entertainment
Germany’s Adorned Brood has been around for about fifteen years and I had never heard of them. I guess that is why this album, NOOR, is finally being released in the United States in 2010, two years after the album was released in other parts of the world. NOOR is the band’s seventh release and continues to embrace the Pagan/Viking/Folk metal genre that Adorned Brood helped pioneer. The band employs 6 members, including the female flute player Anne, who occasionally lends backing vocals as well. Considering Adorned Brood’s longevity, they are considered something of an institution in the Pagan Metal genre. Sure their attire is pure cheese, but no worse than the way Manowar used to dress (Manowar played exponentially better music though).
The aptly titled “Intro” begins the festivities with a quiet symphonic instrumental before transitioning into the deceptively heavy “Storm”. The clean part of the song during the verses is a nice piece of catchy minor key acoustics, combining Anne’s backing vocals with Frost’s more aggressive vocals. Predictably, the song kicks in and Frost employs the dreaded black metal vocal style, immediately erasing any goodwill I had towards the band. “Am Grunde des Meeres” is the one of two tracks sung in German, confusingly about Russian folklore, with an intro that would not sound out of place during Oktoberfest celebrations. Much goodwill is restored with the excellent “Sons of The Damned”, an impressive sonic feast that appropriately uses Frosts black metal style combined with Anne’s seductively subtle croon. The album ends with a cacophonous tongue-in-cheek mangling of the classic Irish folk song “Drunken Sailor”.
NOOR is an album that gradually grew on me. There are just too many damn catchy parts to dismiss outright. The band is undeniably talented, combining melodic guitar work, judicious portions of aggression, and folk drenched flutes and keyboards. Production is also decent if lacking a bit in punch. Understandably, this is going to be of limited appeal, and you already know if you are a fan of this style of music. This is by no means something I would spin regularly or maybe ever again, but I cannot deny talent when I hear it. If you are a fan of this style of music, then NOOR should be on your list of potential acquisitions.