It was during the ‘All Star Jam’ at Progpower Festival USA in 2007, when Nightwish singer Floor Jansen and Pagan’s Mind guitarist Jørn Viggo Lofstad joined forces on stage for some cover songs and noticed a certain creative magic happening between them. Although the two musicians had never met before, they soon discovered their mutual love for stripped down hard rock and decided to write some songs together. In 2008 they managed to compose an entire album’s worth of material but due to their tight schedules with their main bands their new project Northward never found its way into the limelight, until now!
The debut self-titled album of Northward will be released on October 19th 2018 via Nuclear Blast.
What a combination this is. The powerful symphonic vocals of Floor Jansen alongside the guitar talents of Jørn Viggo Lofstad turns Northward’s debut into a lively hard rock listen. It’s unlike anything either have really done before and you can hear the excitement come through.
Beginning with the high-tempo, While Love Died. It is filled with plenty of rocking energy alongside a catchy chorus before the following Get What You Give brings some instrumental melodies. Jansen’s vocals are incredible here, her power is unmatched in the realm of female vocalists in rock and metal at the moment.
She’s the star of this album lifting many a bland track to higher heights. Storm in a Glass would be utterly forgettable and Time Bomb’s bland rhythm does little without Floor’s powerful lungs.
A stripped back approach to rock, when Northward don’t push the limits too much it’s often when it appeals the most. The soft melody of Paragon that erupts into a huge chorus is one of the album’s finer moments but there is also no arguing with the catchiness and energy exuded in the likes of Let Me Out and Big Boy. Lofstad really comes into his own here too with a blistering guitar solo.
You can’t get anymore stripped down then Bridle Passion. With just an acoustic guitar and soft vocals, it’s sweet song but feels out of place. Particularly when followed by the rock box-ticking, I Need and the feel good finale of Northward.
This is a good album, both artists contribute plenty to what is, a fun hard-rocking release. One that allows them to stretch their musical muscles a bit.
Northward – Northward Full Track Listing:
1. While Love Died
2. Get What You Give
3. Storm in a Glass
4. Drifting Islands
6. Let Me Out
7. Big Boy
9. Bridle Passion
10. I Need
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You can order the album via Nuclear Blast here and stream previously released singles via all major services.
Northward - Northward (Nuclear Blast)
- The Final Score - 7.5/107.5/10