Crom - When Northmen Die

Crom - When Northmen Die

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(CD, Pure Steel Records, 2017)

I heard a few samples from CROM's “Of Love And Death” when it hit the stores, back in 2011. I was totally sold on it and kept it spinning for weeks, and then, suddenly it didn't appeal to me anymore. I've tried to listen on later occasions, but seemed that the magic was gone. And there's kind of the same with “When Northmen Die” now, 6 (or something) years later. It goes up and down, with the difference though that this one went up again after the dip.

In general, it's a bit tougher than its predecessor, opening “Behold The Lights” sounds like a mix of RUNNING WILD and FALCONER; true Power Metal with a slight Folksy feel. I really like this one. The chorus-line is sticky, a perfect way to kick off an album. Also, the power of “All Alone” which follows goes down well. It's exactly as heavy as it needs to be while having the hang to makes it intense. One thing I really liked with “Of Love And Death” was Walter “Crom” Grosse's voice; it's the same here and his soft and melancholic expression works perfectly towards the epic music. There's an ounce of Dan Swanö and a pinch of Andreas Hedlund (BORKNAGAR, VINTERSORG etc.).

His sense for melody becomes even more prominent in the acoustic “Dear Father”; a beautiful song and a contrast towards the rest since it's only an acoustic guitar and vocals. Then, a turn for something different in “Betrayal” which is a raw one with a hissing kind of vocals, leaning towards Black Metal on occasion just to turn over to the melodic again. It's definitely the more melancholic parts I like the best but without the heavier and more brutal passages everything would have sounded too much the same. These breaks keep it interesting and I think it's these dynamics “Of Love and Death” lacked which made it fall flat in the end. This is why “When Northmen Die” supersedes its predecessor; the variation is greater and it has more fines. And since it bounced back to the good path after the dip, CROM sure is on to something here.

One of my favorites from the album is “Sentenced To Death” with its annoyingly sticky guitar melody and Walter's voice that stands out. It has a bit more edge which makes this song to lean more towards Progressive Metal than the else prominent Folk / Viking-style. The title track “When Northmen Die”, varies between NIGHTINGALE in the choruses, MANOWAR and “Hammerheart” BATHORY in the verses. It might seem like an odd mix, but it works and this song is a true epic. Really, what is good on the album is fantastic but there are also other ones that pass by rather unnoticed.

In general, everything sounds very good. As I like this one still even after done with the review, it's definitely some steps up from “Of Love And Death”, and if CROM continues like this, the next one will be a full hit, I suppose.





01. Behold The Lights
02. All Alone
03. Shields Of Gold
04. Dear Father
05. Betrayal
06. I'm With You
07. Gods Of Glory
08. One Step To The Lake Below
09. Sentenced To Death
10. Rain
11. When Northmen Die
12. Farewell Song


Walter “Crom” Grosse - Vocals, All Instruments