Released: 2012, Metalodic
This Columbian band came out of nowhere and really surprised me at the strength of the bands debut. After an independent EP, Vorpal Nomad was picked up by the up and coming, Canadian, Power Metal label, Metalodic. That in itself seems a bit strange to me, Canada (my home nation) is not really known for a huge Power Metal scene and the label to date has singed mostly Canadian acts so how they picked up this band from Bogata, we may never know, but I’m glad they did.
Another interesting point for Power Metal fans is that the singer of Vorpal Nomad is none other than Felipe Machado Franco. If that name is familiar, it should be, he perhaps more widely known in the Metal world for being one of the most popular and sought-after cover artists. His work has appeared on albums by Axel Rudi Pell, Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Iron Savior, Rage and Rhapsody and dozens more. Naturally he designed a great cover for HYPERBOREA in his instantly recognizable style. His art-work aside Franco is an extremely strong singer as well. He reminds me a bit of Blackie Lawless mixed with Chris Boltendahl and Rolf Kasparek with a good gruff n’ gravelly voice with a distinct delivery that is intense and passionate.
The band have some heavy hitters helping them as Piet Sielk (Iron Savior) helped produce the album as well as laying down a guest solo. Oliver Hartmann (At Vance etc) also drops by for a quick guest solo on ‘As The Otherworld Falls Down’. Here is the interesting thing to me about HYPERBOREA. I got this album and just threw it on, knowing nothing about the band. I listened to this album several times just blown away at how good they were before I even started to ‘research’ who they were. I was a bit shocked to learn there was so much pedigree with this brand new band. However, if you strip away the hype (cover artists, guest stars, international label deals) VORPAL NOMAD truly can stand on their own based on catchy songs and great individual performances. HYPERBOREA is a compact straight-ahead Power Metal in a ssomewhat Germanic style of bands like Paragon, Rawhead Rex, Metalium and veterans like Accept Grave Digger and Running Wild. There is not really too many extra sonic elements like female vocals, orchestration, excessive keyboards, just punchy and crunchy, balls to the wall Metal. The thick guitar tone of primary song-writer Nicholas Waldo carries the songs along, the catchy melodies cruise along often building to an infectious chorus, but never too sweet thanks to the darker delivery of Franco.
VORPAL NOMAD have demonstrated very early on in their career that they have what it takes: a cool name, a global reputation, but most importantly fantastic songs. I’m ranking HYPERBOREA as one of the debut albums of the year and a strong Top 10 contender for my Year-end top 10.