Norselaw – Moon Hunters

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: February 2013
Released: 2012, Independent
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

These guys are pretty underground and perhaps seem content to stay that way. The 21 minute EP, MOON HUNTERS just showed up in the mail with very little in way of information about the band. I look at the CD itself. Again, not much to go on, I’m not sure where they are from, no lyrics, very little info at all. I hop on-line and not one of the four big Metal databases have the band listed at all. OK. I drop by the web-site, again it’s only half done with virtually no information. I’m assuming from the reviews of a previous album, that they are from the Cleveland area.

The reviews of the previous album are all over the map, likening the band too Punk, Black Metal, Thrash, Rap, Viking Metal, an odd mix for sure. With MOON HUNTERS I’m hearing some of those influences, so I’m working on the assumption (having never heard the previous album) that the band have evolved their style and have settled into a more straight-ahead Metal template. No rap or punk, Thank God. It’s not uncommon for a new young band to throw everything but the kitchen sink into the debut album and then solidify the sound as time progresses. The production is a little muted but this kinda of stuff doesn’t need crystal clear, shiny production, it has enough dirt and grime to make it earthy. The guitar tone is dirty and the drums sound like drums, not all electronic sounds and triggers.

Working with very little info, I do know that MOON HUNTERS is very entertaining. Each song has a variety of tones and tempos and oddly each song ends extremely abruptly, cutting of the song. I’m not sure if it is deliberate or a mastering issue. Either way it is a bit disconcerting but maybe good Metal is supposed to be disconcerting. The title track is a really speedy song that takes a left turn about two-thirds of the way through. I don’t know why but when I listen to Norselaw I think of Slough Feg, Atlantean Kodex, Argus, maybe a bit of The Meads of Asphodel or Dawnbringer; all very good bands with a good metal sound but brave enough to defy conventional song-writing and balance that fine line without descending into weirdness, like say… Primus. The vocals take a back seat, sitting lower in the mix and minimal lyrics in the songs.

I wonder if they really got permission to use the Frank Frazetta cover art. No matter. It looks cool. The band sounds cool. They would fit neatly on Howie Bentley’s Echoes Of Crom Records. MOON HUNTERS is a little underground gem with enough quirk and personality to attract many fans. It’s heavy, dynamic, fun to listen to and way cool. Seek it out.


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Track Listing:
1. Dungeonlurker
2. The Demise That Came To Sarnath
3. Unmerciful Gloom
4. Moon Hunters
5. Howl Of The Direwolf

Norselaw – Vocals, guitar
Theon Greyjoy – Bass
Jamie Lannister – Drums