Chuck Schuldiner Project

Monday, August 20, 2012

Today I am bringing you a full length review of Niflheims' debut album Personne. They have a sound that combines more modern rock elements with folk metal. Its kind of hard to describe, but somehow it works. The sound achieved here is rather unique and very listenable. This is the kind of band I would show someone if I was trying to get them into folk metal. They get how to make trve folk metal, but also how to make real tunes that normal people would like to listen too. This potent combination could garner a huge market, I must say that it looks like Niflheim could have a huge future. This is one of the few folk metal bands that doesn't seem as snotty and elitist, with songs like “Holy Mushroom” and “Happy drunk friend” the band members become a part of the people. This is a pretty cool thing to see in what is typically such an elitist genre.

The guitar playing is very tight on this record. The riffs have a rhythmic complexity that is very symphonic metal. The riffs are very swirling and have a power in them that seems ancient. They call up old memories of a dark time gone by. Yet for the majority of the record the guitar provides a solid background to the folk instruments. Much like Elevuitie the rock band elements are really more of a grounding for the other musicians to base themselves off of. That is not to say that there are no cool guitar parts. For example, the guitar solo in Watery Grave is downright brilliant. Also some of the riffing is truly metal and allows for a great headbanging party. One riff in particular that shines to me is the one in the verse of Birth of a Succubus which really gets me going every time I hear it. All in all the guitar on this record is tasty and well executed. This is a fun album guitar wise and I think it will be cool to see them execute live on Sunday.
The solid bass playing helps provide some very folky rhythms while also backing up the guitars. The implementation of the bass on the acoustic parts of the record is pretty impressive. It adds some really great flavors and shows the bassists true skill. Overall though, his solid, and even bouncy playing provides a very solid backbone for the record and means that the music will never bore you. Complimenting this is some of the really tasty drum playing that we hear on this record. With a combination of classic metal playing and more folky bits the drummer shows himself to be a master of many styles. His playing is always explosive and powerful. He knows how to make some really great beats that get your body moving and your head banging. All in all the rhythm section of this group is very together and adds a great feel to the music.

The violin is very well implemented and they add a lot of flavor to the songs. In fact, its' pretty clear that it is running the show. Providing most of the melody and a lot of the more Celtic feel it takes you on a swirling journey to another country and another time. Its cool to hear the playing here, so well executed. It makes everything seem very medieval and makes me smile as it takes me to a time when things where quieter. Almost epic at times the violin parts are very impressive for one solo instrument. The arrangements also benefit the violin and help it truly shine. All in all, the violin playing is a highlight of this record and shows how good this band can truly be.

Finally the singing is just beautiful and this bands vocalist really knows what she's doing. She sounds like she has classical training, her voice has a lot of very classical melodic qualities to it. Yet, it is also rather meaty and full sounding. It provides a lot of strength to some of the weaker parts and infuses everything with a powerful dose of passion. With a voice that can be anthemic or beautiful, or better yet, both at the same time she launches her self fully into the music. Its cool to hear this singer being such a huge part of her band and the sounds that they make. In particular the aria on Sailing South is pretty much perfect. It shows how great her voice can be, but also takes you back to a more medieval time. Its really cool to hear.

All in all Niflheim is a stellar folk metal act, and I think that any fan of metal or rock would like them. They have all of the classic elements of a folk metal band, but make it a bit more accessible to the average joe. This is a band with a huge future ahead of them, they could very easily top the rock charts as well as the metal ones. Niflheim is powerful and dominating, and while their sound might not call up the trvest viking metal of Ensiferum its still very folky and filled with all sorts of great melodies and lyrics. So go check them out!

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