31 Aug 2016

Nordland: "The True Cult of the Earth"

Another shot of British black metal
There are countless examples where a band's second effort falls short of the first. Often, the first album is the result of pent up inspiration and ambition, where the sophomore album in many cases seems like an effort driven by necessity or expectation rather than the will to create. Upon Nordland's mighty - and highly recommendable - 2012 album of the same name, the British band stands before a gruelling task in creating something that even comes close to the debut.

Vorh, as the force behind Nordland calls himself, favours vast, grey moors of sound, each lengthy track - the first being 13 minutes long - carrying its ponderous notes in a slow-moving, well-mannered way. While a few parts linger just long enough to become tedious, the majority of the compositions on The True Cult of the Earth are genuinely well-balanced and enjoyable.

"He lets his thoughts wander, and in doing so creates a hypnotic musical ethos that is both immersive and tantalising."

Nordland circles the decrepit tombs of black metal's most classic acts like a carrion bird looking for sustenance, but Vorh carries his compositions with the grace of a black raven in the night, wings and feathers glistening with anticipation in the faint moon light. He lets his thoughts wander, and in doing so creates a hypnotic musical ethos that is both immersive and tantalising.

But as organic impulses fire wildly, so too does the album lose its sense of direction. Every track is an essential part of The True Cult of the Earth, but at the same time there is little pay off. The drifting naturalistics of Nordland plays against the religiously orthodox tyranny that some would want the genre to be, and this only serves to make the British band more unique and recognisable. Vorh's sophomore album has tenacity, but doesn't draw all benefits from the otherwise enveloping instrumentation and voice work.


Released in 2013 by Glorious North Productions


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