Released: 2013, Maple Metal Records
Being a Canadian based site, quite often I’ll get a bunch of Canadian independent stuff and every six months or so I’ll do a quick overview of what’s happening in the underground of the frozen tundra, so check my reviews for new albums by Fatality, Fireign, Nordheim, Sanktuary and Until Dawn.
Nordheim are back and I’m really glad their debut album LOST IN THE NORTH was not just a one-time arctic mirage brought on by dazzling snow blindness. The Quebec quintet is back and this time it is for a REFILL! I really appreciate when bands take extra time and energy to do a proper presentation and have a bit of a theme, or introduce a mascot or some sort of image and continuity to give listens something tangible to grasp onto in a sea of literally thousands of albums to choose from. Nordheim have done this on REFILL as the cover of REFILL shows our marauding hero-trolls stopping on a tropical island and stocking up on food, drink and women! The little touches like the seagull and the snowman make this one of my favourite album covers of the year, and the artist, Nicolas Francouer, who did the debut as well, deserves an honorable mention. I think more bands could use his skills.
Nordheim is still on Maple Metal and the label has helped produce a very nice package with lyrics and photos and so on. Although the debut was in 201 it came out in late 2010, REFILL came out in early 2013 so it has only been a couple of years and in the two years since the debut the band has recruited a drummer who does a fine job with the mostly very high-tempo songs.
These guys are hilarious. The opening 30 seconds, a spoken word intro is brilliant. The music is deadly serious but they inject a huge sense of fun, with great party time lyrics, big gang vocals and frantic energy. This time around the drinking song worth mentioning is ‘Get Drunk Or Die Trying’ which is the evil twin-sister to ‘Beer, Metal, Trolls And Vomit’. The whole album rips along at a heady pace, rarely slowing down as Nordheim present a hyper-kinetic blend of thrash and folk-Metal laced with keyboards and other folky type elements.
In case I have inadvertently painted a perception and that you think that the whole band or album are too joke-like, that is not the case at all. The Metal on this album is heavy and fast with harsh vocals and a frostbitten feel. Not all the lyrics are fun or funny, they do present a serious side and the band does not really write happy jigs like Korpiklaani, they are way heavier and driving. REFILL finds that sweet-spot, a rare blend of being crushingly heavy and yet having fun doing it. I don’t know why but in my mind I sort of associate Nordheim with Swashbuckle and Alestorm, a pair of bands that also mix hints of humour in with excellent, punishing Metal. Those three together on tour…that would be an adventure. Until then, check out REFILL.