New album "Machine Blood" (Inverse Records), released March 4 2022.
Album mixed & mastered by Jacob Hansen @ Hansen Studios, DK
Vocals recorded by Michael Hansen Buur @ Some Studio, DK
Guitars & Bass recorded by Niels Thybæk-Hansen @ NTH Studios, DK
Drums tracked by Jesper Sommerby, Molten Rock Studios, DK
'Machine Blood' albumcover art: All Things Rotten
'Fear Reigns' & 'Seasons Erased' Official Lyrics Music Videos by Hollowed Graphix.
2. Left Behind
3. Fear Reigns
4. Depleted Soil
5. The Swordsman
6. The Run
7. Endless Stream
8. Seasons Erased
9. Law Of Jante
10. Machine Blood
In "Prologue" NORÐ present themselves in perfect perfection. In a beautiful acoustic intro. The incredibly well-balanced sound and the placement of the guitars are striking. The high point here comes in the form of the technical way of playing. Partly flamenco variety and a melancholically beautiful melody. Despite the good sound, the whole thing is not ironed out. The stops are of course clean, but you can hear the swiping and gripping of the strings. Round and grounded, like the rest of the entire record.
The heaviness comes from track number two onwards. "Left Behind" already combines an unbelievable range of creativity and finesse of the band. This includes songwriting, dynamics, tempo and space that is left to show off the heaviness well. This is the most appropriate song to listen to.
In "Fear Reigns" you let the groove have the upper hand and hold back a bit with the gimmicks. It all seems quite modern, but has a certain old school touch, that presents a healthy mix or shows off the band's influences the best.
The clean guitar part in this piece can enjoy an expression that makes you languish. But due to a small disharmony (which is also always celebrated on the whole disc) the mood changes very quickly, but also in such a way that it takes you along. The melodic guitar work is very well thought out anyway.
The singing is interesting and very diverse. Just paying attention to this is worth it. The same type of recording as mentioned at the beginning can be found ind the end of the album. Well produced and yet so you can perceive every note dry. In some places it doesn't go so well. A passage is therefore a bit thinner. Sometimes quite exaggerated, but again appropriate for this record. A matter of taste!
Machine Blood feels like it suits every situation in life. We're talking about a debut album here. A strong start that gives hope for more. The live implementation would be interesting again, but maybe more about that at some point.
Checkout Tips: "Left Behind" and "Fear Reigns" and "The Swordsmen"
Rating: 9.2 out of 10 points
NORÐ is a band from Odense in Denmark that was founded in 2013. In 2017 they came up with the EP 'Alpha' and now there is – finally – the sequel with the debut album 'Machine Blood'. NORÐ is categorized as alternative metal, which in our opinion means as much as a blend of several styles without being able to really put them in one box. Every comparison is always doing injustice, but to give an idea of what sound you like with NORÐ. As maybe expected, we can say that fans of Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Soilwork and Drowning Pool might find something to their liking. One minute they're leaning towards catchy hardcore riffs, the next it's more towards melodic death metal. This has in no small part to do with the very varied vocal range of Bjarne Matthiesen, who effortlessly transitions from very high pitched vocals, over clean vocals to raw grunts and afterwards a deep death growl. But also musically this quintet is not easy to catch and the variety of styles is impressive, while the album nevertheless sounds cohesive. Each song is built up in a very layered way so that you never have the feeling that they are left with a half-finished idea. The album starts with a very calm acoustic guitar but then all registers are pulled open from 'Left Behind'. They find inspiration in our society where there is unmistakably something wrong. Working with two guitars helps Norð for the fact that there is a constant interplay between stirring riffs and the finer melodic guitar playing. In short, there is always something that keeps your attention. If we have one point of criticism, it is that the album sounds almost too polished. We might have liked it just that little bit rougher, now it is sometimes too clean, too stripped of the rough edges as if they want to be friends with everyone. We suspect that the hand of Jacob Hansen – who previously worked with Volbeat, Arch Enemy and Amaranthe among others – plays an important role in this. Nevertheless a debut album that can count and certainly a band to keep an eye on.
Fine alternative metal from Denmark.
Listen up, now the Danes from NORÐ are coming with their debut album "Machine Blood". Buckle up, off you go on the wild ride. The quintet presents nine songs that are difficult to grasp musically. The music is definitely modern, has a powerful metal side, grooves like hell and deserves a progressive note with numerous breaks and surprising changes. Friends of LAMB OF GOD or KILLSWTCH ENGAGE should perhaps read on more intensively now.
The biggest plus of the disc is the production by Jacob Hansen. It not only presses in all corners, but is also transparent and lively. A real pound, which above all allows the deeper tuned guitars and the drums to come into their own. Accordingly, the songs push powerfully and unstoppably screw on the beet. One plus with an asterisk.
In the first part of the album the gentlemen might want a bit much, because songs like 'Left Behind', 'Fear Reigns' or 'Depleted Soil' seem very disjointed and lacking in structure due to the many changes. In the further course, NORÐ channels this urge a little, which has a positive effect on the listening pleasure. This is also noticeable in Bjarne Matthiesen's singing, which has different colors and facets. He shines with a strong, rough metal voice that reminds a little of Howard Jones, but also uses throaty growls and hoarse shrieks more often. While the three types of singing are balanced at the beginning and sometimes cause chaos, he focuses more on metal from 'The Swordsman' onwards. Good choice, because Bjarne doesn't need to hide. The overall package fits perfectly.
There aren't really any real outliers, both upwards and downwards. Most of the pieces are on the same level, but overall they're just a bit too long. It can be shortened again in the future. And when it comes to solo work, there's still room for a bit more spectacle. On "Machine Blood" guitarists Thybaek-Hansen and Jensen limit themselves to melody solos. That's a nice thing, but every now and then the fretboard should be allowed to glow.
In the end, the album still lacks big refrains, catchy melodies and thus small hits. The profile, the own identity, must be sharpened further. But the basic ingredients are already excellent and promising, so I will definitely continue to follow NORÐ. My expectations are high.
Play Tips: The Swordsman, Fear Reigns, Season's Erased
The Danish band NORÐ mix alternative metal and some thrash influences on Machine Blood. It is a highly-addictive metal platter that grooves along at a nice pace and has a good flow. There is an undeniable accessibility to the tracks along with crunchy riffs. It is the combination of styles that makes the band so effective and stylish.
There is a very cool feeling to the tunes that lends them credibility. If there is a flaw this album it is in the fact that NORÐ could have been more innovative and could be pushing themselves in more interesting directions. Still, this is an fun collection of songs that mixes genres effectively. Fans of a number of metal styles should find something to like.
The first sign of life on the release side from NORÐ was the EP “Alpha” from 2017. Now the five-man strong band is ready with their debut album, which is mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen, and released on the Finnish record company Inverse Records.
The company places NORÐ in the category "Alternative Metal", but I think that is artificial and wrong. As soon as the otherwise very fine intro with acoustic guitar sounds out, NORÐ throws itself into an interpretation of Death Metal that unites the genre's hard-hitting side with melodic elements.
The actual opening track "Left Behind" gives a good insight into the band's style: Here there is a fine tempo and a good drive, sharp guitars and a vocal that alternates between growl, roar and pure singing. It all appears clean and clear in an excellent production (as expected!)
On the rest of "Machine Blood", the same elements appear, which are generally solid in style, but where some tracks still stand out, because things fit extra well together. This is especially true in "The Swordsman", which scores points on a strong melody and similar guitar work, and "Law of Jante", which is my favorite on the album: Here things go up in a higher unit, so the individual parts really support each other .
That there are also a few tracks that appear a little colorless can be overlooked; With "Machine Blood", NORD has created a beautiful and exciting debut album.
In 2016 the recordings for the debut EP “Alpha” began at Molten Rock Studio in Odense with producer Jesper Egeskov Sommerby. It was released March 2017 on the Finnish label Inverse Records, and the lead single “Rosehip Garden” received airplay in several countries including The United States, Australia, The Netherlands, Italy and Spain. The EP also received some very fine reviews both in Denmark and internationally.
1. Kill the Marshalls
2. Rosehip Garden
Tracked, produced & Mixed by Jesper Egeskov Sommerby @ Molten Rock Studios
Alpha EP Cover art: NMAAR
Alpha EP bandphoto: Martin J. Craggs
Odense-based NORÐ promises a lot on their debut EP, and fortunately they are fulfilling that as well.
See, I usually run away almost screaming when bands in their promotional material promise "A unique heavy sound with references to thrash, doom and death" and phrases like "presents a new sound on the Danish metal scene", for how many times have you not read that kind of thing and been badly disappointed?
I mean, how much can you manage to succeed on your first debut EP?
Not so little, I have to say.
First meeting on the record via the song "Kill the Marshalls", where I was greeted by lead singer Bjarne Brogaard Matthiesen's slightly half-suffocated vocals, and then the disappointment was about to set in already here, but throughout the song I found out that the man possesses a vocal register, which many - especially Danish - singers should look to. Singing, roaring and growl, he commits approval all the way.
And it is actually positively symptomatic of the whole “Alpha”. When you think you know NORÐ's formula, they just break it up, throw in something new and surprise again.
It's really hard to describe the band's sound, but in short you get the best from bands like Godsmack and Dirt Forge with many detours that work great.
The band has members from DK, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and you can sense the dystopian, misanthropic atmosphere that can characterize the landscape of the Nordic countries, far out in the wilderness. The band hits the phenomenal gray zone between uplifted abandonment and smiling life-leaders.
Only complaint with the disc is that it becomes just that tooth too polished and too tight in the negative sense that the sound sounds a bit claustrophobic with an enclosed sound where there is no room for very many arm movements as the mix moves in a sound one-dimensional track that makes the experience a bit condensed.
I assume that NORÐ can really blow up the restrictive framework when I see them live - which I am very much looking forward to!
The Danish metal quintet NORÐ released its first 4-track EP, entitled Alpha, on 3rd of March this year via Inverse Records. Let’s give it a spin!
The first track, Kill The Marshalls, starts off with a melodic intro, then switches towards a more thrashy sound which reminds of early Metallica, combined with clear singing and growls. The second track, Roseship Garden, has a short piano sequence at its beginning, before it becomes heavier and takes more into the death metal direction. Things slow down again about midway through the song, and the sound gets more thrash-like again. Next up is Restless, which starts off with some more oriental tunes and gets back to the particular death/thrash blend mentioned before. Last song of the EP is Omega, which starts off again very slowly, but then has the by far most death metal-like sounding part of the EP. This soon blends back to the aforementioned Metallica-like thrash style.
In conclusion: Alpha is quite a diverse EP, making it hard to pinpoint a particular genre it falls in. NORÐ rather developed their own sound, which can be perceived throughout the entire release. It is definitely worth listening to, so give it a go! 8/10.
First and foremost, we can’t say we’ve never reviewed an album from Odense, Denmark anymore. From out of the blue, comes an awesome 4 song EP called Alpha from the band, NORÐ– a high energy, 5-piece, progressive, melodic metal band.
I was actually supposed to review this about a month ago, but it fell by the wayside. Better late than never?
On to the music:
Alpha kicks off with “Kill the Marshalls”, a very diverse tune clocking in at just over 4 minutes. Yet, in just 4:35, the band showcases their full arsenal of extremely diverse sounds. Vocally, the entire EP is very impressive. The vocalist displays a very broad spectrum for both clean and harsh vocals.
Then, in terms of guitar, we get mostly clean channel intros, followed by a variety of distorted prog/melodic riffs- producing many different feelings throughout each track’s duration. The rhythm section doesn’t just hang in the background either. The bassist stands out quite often, through a handful of bass breaks and some fills during buildups, none of which feel forced or out of place.
Moving on to drums, it’s worth mentioning that NORÐ had drummer, Magnus Elisson tracking on Alpha, but have since then acquired Rune Kolsbjerg Hansen for all future live duties. As for the performance on this EP, the drums are solid as a rock, complimenting each riff perfectly. The footwork in the syncopated sections of the album is quite impressive, showcasing several unique patterns coming in and out of sections. The drums also deliver great power in the slower, doom sections that come and go. The intro of the final track, “Omega” is a perfect example. In fact, this is one staple that NORD tends to revert back to consistently, amidst all their melodic and progressive riffing: deep, commanding guttural vocals layered over slow doom riffs and a crushing rhythm section.
For all my local metalheads in Buffalo and Rochester, I’d recommend NORD to fans of Darkapathy, The Highest Leviathan, The Crypt, Sun Black Smoke or Weaponex.
I’ve never been one for rating systems, but I’ll give it a shot due to popular demand. I’ll give Alpha a 4/5. I can’t say I’ve never heard tunes like this before, but it’s such a fun listen due to the way NORÐ blends all of their influences and musical vibes together to make these cool songs.
Danish five piece NORÐ believe in metal with a capitial M. They also appear to believe that the inclusion of hugely melodic passages is entirely necessary if they are to attract more than a niche audience. They’d be right to assume that, too, especially when their debut EP
includes more than a little death metal throatiness.
It’s obvious this band is big when it comes to riffs. Following a melodic intro, opening number ‘Kill The Marshalls’ smashes forth with a hard guitar onslaught, borrowing bits from classic Metallica and early Trivium along the way, with the twin guitars of Niels Thybaek-Hansen and Thomas Bogh Jansen carving out a huge presence.
Vocalist Bjarne Brogaard Matthiesen alternates between a Mastodon-esque shouting and a melodic death growl throughout, with a seamless shift between the two being very much dictated
by the music. The track’s first half serves up some good and solid metal, but it’s with a huge bass rumble and a sojourn into something even heavier – huge staccato riffs and death growl – when NORD really start to impress. The constant switching between two clear styles and inclusion of at least four riffs ought to result in a mess, but it really works. A good start, certainly, but things are about to get better.
‘Rosehip Garden’ wastes no time in delivering another great riff. The rhythm guitar lays down a fearsome bottom end chug – about as good as any at the time of release – while the lead adds a soaring counter melody.
Moving into the verse, thing take a step down to
allow a slightly muddy staccato riff to join another hefty chug. The rough and ready vocals enforce the general heaviness, before a melodic death metal growl becomes reminiscent of the earliest Trivium recordings. In all, this would make a great track, but NORD take things a step further still by including a mid section of a more alternative variety. A very welcome cleaner vocal really lends the feeling of experiencing a Scandinavian metal band chanelling the slowest material from System of a Down’s back catalogue. Finally,
dropping into a slow, heavy head-bobber of a breakdown, they manage to work their way back to the original riff and some really nifty lead work. It’s a kitchen sink affair, no mistaking, and a few listens suggests it might be more than the sum of its influences.
‘Restless’ – a feeling that could possibly be appled to Nord’s ever shifting sounds – doesn’t add much that’s new, but provides another example of well constructed riffs throughout. Firstly, they tease with an almost Arabic sound, but quickly drop into a classic Metallica homage...though with more bass throughout and a the help of a
drummer who can obviously keep time. Almost just as quickly as they’ve mastered that, things move forward again to include a lovely growly voice and even heavier riffs for good measure. And what of those prior hints of world music? They’ve not been forgotten: clean
toned guitars weave a plinky melody for atmosphere, before making way for a brief but soaring guitar solo. ‘Restless’ is less song oriented than a couple of NORD’s other works, but a thoughtful approach to various elements ensures the track more than holds firm throughout.
For the EP’s last offering, ‘Omega’, the music being offered could be that of a different band that gave the world ‘Kill The Marshalls’ less than twenty minutes previously. The production values still hover somewhere between loud and a little muddy; the riffs are still distinctive, but something is very different. It could be the complete surrender to a slower riff – in this case, a moody melodic death riff collides with something a little more stoner-ish – but it’s more likely to be the total absence of clean vocals. If one voice isn’t deep into a melodic death grunt, a second heavily treated voice sounds as if its issuing commands through a megaphone. Meanwhile, the riff never lets up, never really changes and certainly never wavers. By the time everyone’s ready to call it a day after almost six minutes’ worth of heavy pounding, somewhere in a musical camp that sounds like a jam
between ‘Sacrament’ era Lamb of God and ‘Hunter’ era Mastodon, this asserts itself enough to actually be the EP’s best track. It might not be as adventurous as the previous numbers, but it succeeds in every one of it’s musical goals... and for lovers of a huge metal riff, it will not disappoint.
In a particularly brave move, these Scandi riffers have chosen to promote ‘Alpha’ by describing the musical work as “a sound almost impossible to describe”. Well, you shouldn’t expect that, obviously...but do expect something that takes the bones of Trivium, the force of Mastodon, a fancy with melodic death vocals and bits of pointy, post-rock riffery to create a classy and adventurous slab of metal.
Alpha is the new EP from NORÐ and it’s a great slab of noise that combines heaviness and melody together to create a release you’re going to want to bang your head along to.
With chugging riffs, ass-kicking rhythms, powerful vocals and just the right amount of melody to ensure music doesn’t sound monotonous, NORÐ are onto a winner with Alpha and what’s especially good is that you can really feel the sheer energy and momentum that has gone into the EP. It goes without saying that this band will slay in a live environment because of the way the music is presented and constructed – if you’re wanting to bang your head along to the music whilst you sit listening to it at home then just imagine how you’ll feel watching the band live!
Although there’s not a great deal of variety between the four tracks – the EP’s only real downfall – it still makes for a good listen. Opening track Kill The Marshalls sets things up nicely with a gently atmospheric introduction that adds a good bit of ambience, before the full band joins in with a fuller sound, who then properly bring the noise as the song progresses! Another great inclusion is third track Restless, which features a powerfully emotive vocal performance coupled with some crushing riffs and meaty melodic guitar sections for good measure.
As a whole, this is a decent listen, but the similar song structures do let it down slightly. Still, this is certainly an EP worth checking out, and if NORÐ is playing a show near you, then make sure you get your ass over to it!
NORÐ? Before the promo package arrived from Finnish Inverse, we had not noticed the band, but there are indications that we should keep a very close eye on them in 2017. Read here about why they might be the stars of tomorrow.
Who's in the band?
They are Bjarne Brogaard Matthiesen on vocals, Peter Littau on bass, Magnus Elisson on drums, Thomas Bøgh Jensen on guitar and Niels Thybæk-Hansen on guitar. However, Magnus has moved back to the Faroe Islands, where he comes from, so right now we are auditioning to find a new pot holder. We've had some really good people inside and we're close to making a decision.
How did the band start?
I took the initiative to start the project and gathered people. My ambition was to create heavy music in a community where no one is dictating how the music should be. We started out with a lead singer from Iceland and had a Faroese drummer, hence the name NORÐ.
I provide most of the sketches for the songs, which we then arrange together. Our approach is very open and we try all ideas. Nothing is too crazy or different and everyone has the opportunity to bid. We believe that the best result is achieved when everyone is involved in the process. Gradually, we have found our sound and our expression, and we do not let ourselves be limited by the traditional dogmas of the metal genre, so that our music is allowed to move in many directions.
Where was your first rehearsal?
We originally started out at the rehearsal room and venue Kansas City in Odense, but soon after moved to a warehouse building in central Odense, where rehearsal rooms were set up. Back then, our practitioners were often on Friday night and with high spirits and a bottle of whiskey on tour. It was good times, but suddenly the bankruptcy ambulances from Bios apparently had to be parked in our rehearsal room, so we moved back to Kansas City. As the music has taken shape and we have had some more children, our practitioners have become more focused and effective. But our good unity and mood is preserved, and that means everything that we bother to put as many hours into it as it takes, if you want to go far with it.
Where was your first concert?
Our first concert was at Bobz, which was a small nightclub up under the roof on top of a dance school in central Odense! Piss cozy place, which unfortunately is closed now. There were probably 20 spectators, but it was a big night for us.
Who has spotted you?
After we released our single 'Rosehip Garden' in November 2016, we got a lot of attention from abroad, and the number got airplay in both the US, Australia and Spain, and suddenly we were contacted by Inverse Records, who wanted to make a deal with us . That's why we're releasing our debut EP 'Alpha' on Inverse Records on March 3rd. We have received incredibly positive feedback from people who have heard our music, and we are happy about that.
What has been your biggest concert?
Our biggest concert has been at Odense Havnekulturfestival, where we played for a tent full of summer-happy people with draft beer, it was nice!
What's the hardest part about being new to the game?
It's good to get the right contacts, but we've been lucky and already have many good contacts.
How has it been recording your debut album?
It's been super fat. From the first recordings to the finished result, it has been a pleasure. We have been lucky to work with producer Jesper Egeskov Sommerby in Molten Rock Studio, and he has made a huge effort and raised the music to a higher level. We have mixed it together, and it has been great to work together to bring out the right expression.
What are your inspirations?
Our inspiration comes from many different places, and everyone in the band has their own sources of inspiration. For my own part, I can mention bands like Gojira, Lamb of God, Paradise Lost, Meshuggah, Megadeth, At the Gates, Iron Maiden and many more. But the inspiration also comes from a bike ride through the city or in nature. The lyrical inspiration comes from the world around us, the human decadence and the next step of evolution. The fusion of technology and flesh and blood is about to level up, and the cyber citizen becomes the next evolutionary stage of development. The notion of the desperation man is going to face when we have to admit that we are no longer the rulers of the planet is fucking interesting. In addition, we also thematize modern warfare, justice, infatuation, modern man's eternal pursuit of more and a lot of other topics.
What are your dreams?
To share our music with the whole world and play live and make a party with our audience. Playing music is our dream and if we can delight others with it, it is our highest goal.
How will you reach them?
Hard work! There are so many small sub-processes that need to be successful to make music, and especially getting it out into the world requires a lot of work. But we love music, so we like to do it. We will work hard to get our music out all over Denmark and all over the world, and we have taken the first step with 'Alpha'. As the title indicates, this is just the beginning. Our first release and first step towards our goal. We believe in this and we will continue to do so.
How will you really NOT end up?
Like someone who made a half-hearted attempt and never really got anywhere. We go 100% into this and do our very best all the way!
How much support do you have from the hinterland (parents, school, friends, job, etc.?
We have good support from our wives / boyfriends / families, for which we are deeply grateful. Most of us have children, so being in a band and spending the time it takes could not be done if we were not backed by our families.
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