CROM – WHEN NORTHMEN DIE (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Officer Nice: What a nice front cover…again. The Northern light! It is one of the things on my bucket list. And although I prefer the warm above the cold countries, this is something I need to see before I die! This is the beauty of nature at its’ best! A man cannot be closer to the universe I guess… I know it will cost me a lot of money to travel to Lapland but it will give me ever lasting memories and that’s the main reason I need to do this. I only live once… It’s like seeing the big 5 in Africa, the wolves in Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. I just need to do it!

But the front cover I am talking about is from a ‘band’ that I appreciate since their very first album. This kind of Epic Metal, influenced for a part by Doom/Viking Metal, is just brilliant to hear. It took a few years for the follow up from “Of Love & Death” and to be honest I thought it was over and out for Crom.  But it isn’t and I am so thankful to hear this newbie. And yes, once again Walter ‘Crom’ Grosse delivers a fantastic Metal album, one you really need to check out. We can’t say his is a real band because this man does about everything on his own, working with guest musicians to help him out. The result is a feast for enthusiasts of melodic Epic Metal in vein of bands like Doomsword, Bathory in a blender with for example the doom of Solitude Aeturnus and the power of Demons & Wizzards and Evergrey. As a concept, even a bit Ayreon crossed my mind. It shows that Crom is varied and I might even say Crom actually found its own sound.

I really like the dark atmosphere on this record and once again I am impressed by Crom. It is hard to say which album is the band’s best because also the previous ones are just fan-tas-tic. This intelligent song writer embraced the legends of the Northmen and Vikings and if you’re into this kind of Epic stories, this record is the perfect album to purchase. Crom delivers amazing arrangements and the riffs, leads and the way the tracks are structured is just impressive. The acoustic parts (in for example “I’m with you”) are blowing me away and after every spin I discover new secrets in “When Northmen Die”. The voices in and between the tracks, the way the leads are often playing along, the choirs are delivering the right mood, the child’s voice in “One Step To The Lake Below”…. It all works and it gives you some piece of mind! I am impressed by the music and by the darkness and the force this album breathes. The clean and powerful vocals are another positive point and a very good reason to really like this band. Unless you only like the most extreme forms of Metal, there are no reasons not to give this one a chance. I am so sure that lots of listeners would or will be as enthusiast as I am.

It is hard to point the best tracks, the entire record is just amazing. Maybe “Sentenced To Death” can be pointed as my favorite one. It’s a pity Pure Steel records didn’t release this one earlier or later, because this is one for the year lists. The melodies are magnificent, more than once I feel the coldness coming out of my speakers. This album makes you dream away and it is able to work on your imagination. That means a master brain is at work and I have but superlatives for this magnum opus. What can I say more? Well, that I’ll buy this one myself and that I can only hope Crom will ever be a band, one we can see on stage. Nice to know is that the vinyl version contains bonus tracks. Check:

My rating: 94/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)