Northtale – Welcome to Paradise

Spread the metal:

November 2019
Released: August 2nd, 2019 / Nuclear Blast
Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
Reviewer: John Haseltine


“NORTHTALE – behind this illustrious name lies nothing less than a Swedish-American power metal supergroup! Formed by guitarist Bill Hudson (TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, I AM MORBID, ex-U.D.O./DIRKSCHNEIDER), vocalist Christian Eriksson (ex-TWILIGHT FORCE), and drummer Patrick Johansson (ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, ex-W.A.S.P., etc.) in late 2017, the line-up was quickly completed by Mikael Planefeldt (bass) as well as keyboardist Jimmy Pitts.”
The first line states it well. A new power metal supergroup. I have become a bit cautious as of late when I see the term “supergroup.” For the most part, bands comprised with only the best musicians whether for one recording or many tend to fall flat in the creative department. I could name a few, but I do not want to upset anyone out there who would disagree.
Northtale, by the way, is not put into that category. I can really get into the cheerful side of power metal from time to time, but what we have here is something of its own entirety. The album opener is a tight-knit powerhouse fueled by a galloping chug-along delivered at some high speeds. It does not stop there. As the album moves along so does the journey through, what almost seems to be a tribute to all things power metal and NWOBHM.
Northtale had a vision in mind to write, record and play only the best power metal known to man. That would be a paraphrase, but still, they do come close. I cannot honestly tell you it is the best only due to the fact I have not had the chance to listen to every single power metal to date, but it ranks right up there with the best of them.
The vocals of Eriksson are very impressive. The man has such an amazing tone and fits perfectly hear. Bill Hudson’s guitar work is equally impressive. He pulls off some of the fastest and precise neo-classical riffs/solos I have heard in some time. Some of the Key solos come off damn good as well. And as I stated earlier, the rhythm section is equally matched, technical and ranges from somber to insane!
The album is not a high charged sonic assault from start to finish. But a well-rounded album it is. It is heavy, bubbly at times, and there is also a couple of radio-friendly tracks in the mix. Catchy as hell melodies with some extremely anthemic choruses that will have you entrenched in singing along after just a listen or two.
While there does not seem to be anything overly original in terms of creating something different for the genre, It is just as fresh as any power metal album I have heard. And as it may be based on the greats of old, it is not to be considered as just a throwback sounding album. Consider it as it is. Great! For fans of Stratovarious, Gamma Ray, Freedom Call, Helloween, Sonata Artica.

1. Welcome to Paradise
2. Higher
3. Follow Me
4. The Rhythm of Life
5. Time to Rise
6. Way of the Light
7. Shape Your Reality
8. Everyone’s a Star
9. Siren’s Fall
10. Bring Down the Mountain
11. Playing with Fire
12. If Angels Are Real
13. Even When

Mikael Planefeldt – Bass
Patrick Johansson – Drums
Bill Hudson – Guitars
Jimmy Pitts – Keyboards
Christian Eriksson – Vocals