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February 2006
Released: 2006, Spinefarm Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Norther from Finland has traveled a long way since they released their debut album (DREAMS OF ENDLESS WAR) in 2001. In the beginning the band was accused for being ´another C.o.B. on the ever-growing line´ by many, but album after album this fivesome was constantly striving toward more of their own sound - determinedly trying to get rid of all of these accusations for being just a C.o.B. -clone.

The band has now reached its 4th full-length album in their career, titled TILL DEATH UNITES US, and their hard work has paid off for them - finally. Norther´s melodic Death Metal has been finding its own shape on the band´s last couple of albums - and the steps they have taken for a bit different things musically, have also brought and given them more credit as their own band that has something in the sound that could be recognized as Norther - and not any C.o.B. -clone any longer. Norther are on their own on TILL DEATH UNITES US, having no intention to sound like some other band around them, and yet the songs on it manage to reek of a top-notch Finnish metal that f.ex. leaves C.o.B.´s last, somewhat a hugely disapointing album under its big shadow. But let´s throw those three often used letters out of this playground for now and rather concentrate on the songs on Norther´s brand-new album, alright dear folks?

"Throwing My Life Away" possibly couldn´t any better opening tune for this very good sounding album. The song is catchy and aggressive as hell, with enough twists and turns to keep your interest awake ´til the song ends. ´Hot´ stuff this is...

Up next follows "Drowning" which shines bright as its own for being (probably) the heaviest song on the whole album riff-wise; not to forget this tune´s value overall as a real ass-kicker. The same shameless praising is allowed to be used for a song called "Norther" that simply puts me oozing a few quality words toward it. Absolutely a very nicely built-up song, having simply an amazing both riff - and lead work dominating it from first moments right up ´til last seconds of the song. And not far behind comes "Everything" in which heavy parts are blended easily with some pretty strong melodies - and the result is more exciting than the current election for President here in Finland.

"Evil Ladies" is mostly based on an ´easy-to-remember´ chorus part which is of course supported greatly by both delicious riffs and lead work of Kristian Ranta. He must have passed all the classes of a guitar school with the highest grades possible as he´s definitely one of the most convincing Finnish guitarists that are out there at the moment.

"Omen" is started by a simple, but a fragile sounding piano part and the song turns out be a very mellow song from the beginning to the end in which nothing that exciting happens at all. Well, next...

"Scream" bites a bit C.o.B´s leg again, but luckily only a bit. I cannot help but adore Kristian´s both riff - and lead fest in this tune as well; maybe some listeners will find a new meaning for a word monster: A ´6-stringer genius´.

And what the fuck is "Fuck You" then?! Uh, maybe one answer is: The most relentless and funniest number on TILL DEATH UNITES US!!! Really...! Seriously...!! I mean, it really is. Woah...!!

"Alone in the End" wins the title as the album´s eerie song; thanks to a middle part of the song in which the song reaches a whole new and dark - and yet so beautiful atmosphere where Norther has rarely visited before, starting from 1:32 minute mark.

No, I have to take it back. "Die" is the heaviest number on TILL DEATH - not "Drowning". A real epitome of ´drop-dead´ riffs and rhytmhs; i.e. quite an evil fucker we´ve got here. You just gotta hear it in order to believe it. Uargh... I´m breathless.

Remember Maiden´s "Wasted Years"? Good for you then... even if we don´t talk about that particular Maiden cover song here now. "Wasted Years" is a mid-paced that basically doesn´t move or go anywhere really. I don´t know why this song has been accepted to be a part of the content on this album. Maybe they should consider naming this song as "Wasted Moments" or something. This song only has just a ´meh´ -value, and that´s all I´m afraid.

The last song, "The End of Our Lives" is back to those more innovative song writing standards again from the band where the Norther -dudes have luckily decided to visit more often lately than some ´unnamed hereos´ that have even more often reached, (-eh!) let´s just say, ´less innovative elements´ for their outputs, one album after another. "The End of Our Lives" is kind of an experimental song that is very strongly played, heavy guitar riffs in it, added with Pain -type of a keyboard thing which lurks in the background almost in an invicible way.

In conclusion, it only could be stated without hesitation that Norther has recorded their most mature and best album to date. I´m glad to see these guys going toward better things with each of their releases they put out. Excellent.
Track Listing

01. Throwing My Life Away
02. Drowning
03. Norther
04. Everything
05. Evil Ladies
06. Omen
07. Scream
08. Fuck You
09. Alone in the End
10. Die
11. Wasted Year
12. The End of Our Lives


Kristian Ranta - Lead guitar
Pete Lindroos - Vocals, guitar
Heikki Saari - Drums
Jukka Koskinen - Bass
Tuomas Planman - Keyboards

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