Northland - Official Website

Downfall And Rebirth

Spain Country of Origin: Spain

Downfall And Rebirth
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: January 1st, 2015
Label: Independent
Genre: Folk, Viking
2. Bloodred Sunrise
3. Together We Die
4. The Rite
5. Fury's Unleashed
6. Duskriders
7. Spirit In Darkness
8. Whispers In The Wind
10. Moonlight Spell
11. Newborn Star

Review by Kostas on June 21, 2023.

After an incredible debut album and some significant line-up changes, it was finally time for Northland to release their second full-lenghth work in early 2015. I had a bad feeling that the absence of two really talented musicians, Daniel Mateu and Yolanda Gago, was just a hint of the disappointment that would follow. Apparently, not only was I right, but also rather sad.

''Downfall and Rebirth'' starts very dynamically with the folk melodies of ''When Nature Awakes'' instantly giving you a taste of what the whole album is going to sound like. The sound is not really bad. The bass lines and several guitar rifts are in fact more than catchy. The problem is that, for the most part, everything sounds much more simple and boring than in the debut. There are some violins, your classic keyboard rhythms and some rather uninspired clean vocals. The tradinional music influences are also much more scarce this time and seem to be a bit disconnected to the rest of the music. The band does not sound like the powerful force they used to be anymore. They most likely sound like a mediocre melodic death metal band with some interesting leans towards world music here and there.

Another major downside of ''Downfall and Rebirth'' is the rather poor mixing and mastering. Every musical instrument sounds too separated and different from the musical compositions as a whole. Just like the folk elements. In addition, vocals are too loud in some parts while in others too low. All this, combined with some unneeded interludes and acoustic breaks like ''The Rite'' don't let you enjoy the album. Which is a pity considering the band's potential and their clever ideas. I don't want to not make a reference to those ideas. One of them is the great piano melody of ''Duskriders'', the absolute highlight of the album. Even more noticeable is the concept of ''Downfall and Rebirth''. The lyrics, although simplified as well, convey some moving messeges about humanity's progress and the respect we must show towards mother nature.

All this is very nice and romantic, but unfortunately does not save the final outcome from sounding conventional. In the end, ''Downfall and Rebirth'' is your basic folk metal album. A good listen for a warm afternoon but in no way the masterpiece some people might expect it to be. Let's just hope Northland will not rest assured they are a good yet rather unknown Spanish band. I expect another awesome release like their first record.

Rating: 5.9 out of 10