All 'bout Metal Music 'n Life

Northern Kings Reborn

Symphonyc Metal, Finland 2007

project bersama dari para musisi finlandia,
vocal bersama 🙂

Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica – vocal)
Juha-Pekka (Charon – vocal)
Marco Hietala (Nightwish bass – vocal)
Jarkko Ahola (Teräsbetoni – vocal)
Northern King’s “Reborn” is an album that most will overlook. It’s a disc full of cover tracks, a niche of the metal release community that is usually more miss than hit. So many artists have pumped out tribute albums and many more have contributed to the “all star” tributes that usually boil down to a collection of dodgy, half hearted covers that stick to the original by the numbers performances and end up being boring wastes of time. However, if you believe they are all like that, well this one should change your mind. It’s a fantastic disc that takes a menagerie of various old songs and completely makes them over. These are no longer the tracks you remember, they are bigger, bolder, metallic and are created by thinking “outside of the box”. To ignore would be folly, for this is one disc that is worthy of your time…no matter how skeptical one might be when approaching a completely covers album. The apprehension is understood, but let the music here speak for itself and you may find yourself with an unexpected last minute favorite for 2007. Such lavish praise for a COVERS disc? You better believe it…

Four Finnish vocalists have teamed up to create this cover version playing supergroup. Marco Hietala from Nightwish, Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica, JP Leppaluoto from Charn and J Ahola from Terasbetoni have joined forces to swap their talents on the songs. It gives the album, not only a sonic cornucopia of voices, but also the luxury of vastly different approaches. The terse strength and forceful power of Marco Hietala is a far cry from the smooth, vibrant power of Tony Kakko, et cetera. Songs are matched with the most likely vocalist to create the perfect harmonized sound, and this goes a long way in making this “Reborn” disc a joyful excursion.

“Creep” has been transformed into a claustrophobic, eerie, gothic horror rollercoaster ride. It’s oozing with an atmosphere that is awfully creepy and surrounded by slow, carefully plodded instrumentation that wraps around that dark-like-velvet voice. Who knew a Stone Tempe Pilots song could become something so… spookily intriguing? Journey’s classic “Don’t Stop Believing” has been turned from a peppy pop number to a dramatic, overblown slice of Northern Kings magic. It sparkles in the moody piano, shrieks in untamed electric joy through the guitars, and the pulse pounding drums. This could easily slip onto any Sonata Arctica proper release and no one would blink an eye. It’s so unbelievably – EPIC – that you can’t just sweep it under the rug as “another cover song”. Which is what makes the Northern Kings “Reborn” project such a guilty pleasure. Hearing songs from a variety of genres and decades turned completely on their heads is an awesome way to spend the afternoon, especially when the tracks are tackled with such passion and no thought to consequence in forcing the listener to think outside the box. You’ve heard these songs before…just never like this.

So a “holy shit!” is all I could keep thinking as “We Don’t Need Another Hero” comes stomping out as a streamlined pompous metal masterpiece. You can hear the majesty in every drama milking verse and get dizzy drunk off of the spiraling guitars and breathtaking pauses. The original was bombastic indeed, but Tina Turner’s Mad Max outing has become even bigger and something like a majestic Dio track. Mr. Mister’s 80 pop ballad “Broken Wings” has been polished up and given a true metal shine in all the power ballad glory that can be summoned from the frozen north. A frosty elegant song with the heat of a warm inner heart. The bittersweet wistfulness of “Hello”, set to the thundering drums and giddy guitar provided here create a real head turner of a track. Love and longing summed up into a comforting rhythmic thump and passionate vocals that touches a nerve. “Let me start by saying…I love you” is given such poignant emotion that it can leave a sensitive listener giddy with delight.

Surely you remember the dramatic simplicity of Phil Collins’ driving “In the Air Tonight” – a song that was often mistaken for a love song – well it’s here too. It retains that mystical, mysterious quality that drove the original. Pauses, flurries of thunderous drums, pulsating keys shattering the wicked silence, and the tune’s trademark pompous verses that keep building throughout the duration. Like water heated by flame it starts still and cold but by the midpoint, tiny bubbles are rippling and disturbing the surface and by the end – well its rolling with a scalding, skin melting presence that doesn’t let up even as it fades til end. Cutting Crew’s “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight” was a lovey dovey pop song spawned from the heart of the 80s. Here it has been glossed with a chill touch that frosts it like some beautiful, fragile snowflake. Piano glitters underneath the tender voice, giving breath and life to the song. Like a filigree made of ice crystals, it melts like butter at every slight touch. A pretty, light pop ditty has been given the Northern Kings treatment and become something that is absolutely mesmerizingly gorgeous.

You also get reworked tracks by David Bowie (“Ashes to Ashes”), Dire Straits (“Brothers in Arms”), and Peter Gabriel (“Sledgehammer”) just to name a few more. Each are stylish, and entirely metal in their own unique ways.

I love this album. Northern Kings have managed to take a finicky thing – that being a covers disc – and make it absolutely fascinating, worthwhile and a whilrwind of pure awesomeness. An offbeat mixture of songs, a wonderful eye for classy artistic twists, and performances that are drop dead awesome make this a disc that lives up to its name. These dusty songs have truly been “Reborn” as molten metallic masterpieces. Absolutely essential… even if you tend to pass on cover albums… this one will change your mind and capture the imagination of your heart. Who would have thought that a covers album would become one of the freshest, most entertaining releases of 2007?

Written by Alanna

12 responses

  1. Northern Kings Reborn Metal Is Power Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

    11 Mei 2012 pukul 17:53

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