NorthTale ‘Welcome To Paradise’
Album Review By Adam McCann
Nuclear Blast Records/Power Metal
Following a rather surprising parting of ways between fantasy themed power metal band Twilight Force and vocalist Christian Eriksson, the former Twilight Force mouthpiece joined forces with Bill Hudson of Circle II Circle and Patrick Johansson of Clockwork Revolution to form NorthTale. With such big names within the power metal world gathering together, the metal world waited as NorthTale released their debut album ‘Welcome To Paradise’.
Unlike his previous band, with NorthTale, Eriksson pursues a more classic power metal sound as this album blasts out of the hatches with soaring vocals, a rhythm section of blistering pace and masterclasses in the guitar. But, read between the lines and there is something a little more enjoyable about this album than generic power metal and that is the keyboards of Jimmy Pitts. These meld effortlessly with the guitars to provide a worthy opponent and at other times, the keyboards find themselves at odds with the guitar, duelling back and forth that takes a leaf out of classics like Deep Purple and Rainbow, but then one step further, having all the appeal of Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica in their prime with tracks such as the jaw dropping ‘If Angels Are Real’, ‘Siren’s Fall’ and the title track. Yet, there is even a neo-classical edge as well that would make fans of Yngwie Malmsteen and The Great Kat dizzy with excitement. However, occasionally, the lyrics do leave a little to be desired, tracks like ‘Bring Down The Mountain’ would fare better without the use of ‘douchebag’ whilst ‘Everyone’s A Star’, although tongue in cheek with its Edguy style delivery, just takes away from the overall feel of the album. Furthermore, ‘Welcome To Paradise’ is best when it is firing on all cylinders and rather loses its way during the ballads, the albums closing track ‘Even When’ peters out into nothing and would be better omitted, yet the albums previous 50 minutes more than make up for this.
‘Welcome To Paradise’ is an excellent way to begin a career, it’s not without its flaws at times, but who cares, this is power metal gold and no doubt, this will make many peoples end of year lists.
Rating : 76/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann