Adorned Brood


Written by: TL on 08/05/2009 20:08:56

Admittedly we tend to give German bands a hard time here at Rockfreaks, often questioning how come the appeal they seem to have to their countrymen doesn't hold any sway over us foreigners? Many a record has passed over our desks and through our speakers, only to be branded with a mediocre grade and quickly forgotten. However, given the sheer mass of German metal releases that are sent to us, probability ensures that at least a small percentage of them are actually good. One of these few good records are Adorned Brood's newest opus "Noor", which I have the good fortune to be reviewing.

It could very well be these guys' experience that have allowed them to step out from the masses with this record of theirs, because it is in fact the seventh in a string of albums of which the first was released all the way back in 1996. I won't presume to have acquaintance with this solid back catalog of the band's, but I'll say that even a newcomer to their sound can hear that these pagans have been around the block at least a handful of times.

And pagans they are, self-proclaimed "teutonic pagan metallers" to be exact. So I guess you can figure out what kind of band that makes them. Right, heavy metallers, dressed like vikings and adding classic epic/folk elements to their sound like female vocals, flutes, accordions and pianos. Mostly their songs follow a formula where the mainstay is made up of classic heavy metal instrumentation (complete with sweeping solos of course) on top of which the flutes and accordions add layers of melody, while the vocals change back and forth between hoarse shrieks and manly viking singing. If this description makes you think of the kind of battle metal that Turisas plays, then you are quite correct to think so, because Turisas is in fact the band I find the most similar to Adorned Brood, although the likes of Ensiferum, Alestorm and Tyr are not far behind in the train of thought. In effect they seem both believable as well as easily accessible, which is no small feat if you ask me.

The impressive thing about "Noor" is how well it manages to balance between the different tendencies usually attributed to music of its genre. Instrumentally, the piano, flute and accordion contribute with moody melodies and increase the dynamics of the music in the mellow periods where they are in focus, but without compromising the punch of the heavy metal at the core of the soundscape. As for the expression, Adorned Brood manage to situate themselves between the OTT unseriousness of Turisas or Alestorm, while still staying catchy enough to distance themselves from the pretense that might have turned some off Tyr and Ensiferum.

What this all amounts to is a disc full of straight forward, feel good pagan metal, which also carries the potential for really good and engaging live performances. There is of course the slight impediment that half of the songs are in German, but seeing how it is equally hard to resist singing along to "Sons of the damned/together we are strong" (from "Sons Of The Damned" and "Es ist die Ruhe vor dem Storm" ("it's the calm before the storm" from "Schiff Der Toten" = Ship Of The Dead), this problem feels rather insignificant. The record keeps you entertained and bopping your head from start to finish and when it is topped off with a great rendition of "Drunken Sailor", you just know you've got a solid album between your hands. What a nice surprise Germany, keep those coming!


Download: Sons Of The Damned, Drunken Sailor, Schiff Der Toten
For The Fans Of: Turisas, Ensiferum, Alestorm

Release Date: 06.04.2009
Black Bards Entertainment

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