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Review: Crom - When Northmen Die
When Northmen Die

Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2017
Duration: 63:04
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: December 28, 2017
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
When Northmen Die

Rated 3.54/5 (70.77%) (13 Votes)

It's been six years since we heard from Crom. The debut album Vengeance was a pretty much universally acclaimed slice of Viking-themed Heavy Metal, but Of Love and Death was more divisive, as it drifted from the Viking themes and into songs about relationships and tragedy. I thought it was an excellent disc, but a lot of fans of the first one didn't like it.

This time out, Walter seems to have just gone ahead and embraced the Viking/pagan themes the fans seemed to want anyway, while still keeping some of his more introspective lyrical themes. Musically this is kind of a mix between the other two albums, with heavier cuts like opener "Behold the Lights" and "Shields of Gold" being most reminiscent of Vengeance, while the slower, more pensive moments like "Dear Father" or "Rain" would fit right in with the moodier compositions on the follow-up.

I like both of these approaches; the problem is that this time out they are not done as well or as consistently as was the case on past albums. The faster, more metallic songs lack originality and just sound rote, while the softer songs are too meandering and become dull. Walter's guitar playing and singing remain excellent, but he has less quality material to work with, and his forays into harsher vocal waters do not work out well. Too many of these songs start out solid, but then fail to develop or get anywhere, and just seem to go on too long.

I am disappointed in this. I was hoping for great things from this album, but overall, I find it a letdown. It's underwritten, slow-moving, and too often either dull or irritating. I find I get sick of the songs way before they are even finished playing, and when I skip to the next one, it's not any better. This has the sound and polish of previous Crom releases, but not any of the substance.

Other related information on the site
Review: Of Love and Death (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Of Love and Death (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Vengeance (reviewed by PowerMetal59)
Review: Vengeance (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: When Northmen Die (reviewed by MetalMike)
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