Band: North Hammer
Release Date: 16th March 2018
The debut from the Canadian North Hammer was yet another recommendation from The Folk Metal Grove. Their Facebook page states that they are “Taking inspiration from Ensiferum, Wintersun and Amon Amarth.”, and you can definitely hear this throughout the album. It is worth noting that there is another order in which this album should be listened to, which is the true chronological order of the tracks to tell the story of the album. This is noted on the Bandcamp page (linked below).
The album leads with Avatar. There are choral vocals at the very start of the track. It is reminiscent of the Skyrim soundtrack, almost elven in nature. The heavy guitars and drums kick in, and there are also strings. There’s a catchy riff with harsh vocals, and you can definitely hear the Amon Amarth and Ensiferum influences here. There are a couple of great solos and instrumentals in this track, it gets the album off to a great start.
The second track, Wanderer, begins with clean vocals and guitars. It is calming from the first track, but the harsh vocals begin to take over. I can hear a lot more Ensiferum influence in this track, and there is definitely a black metal influence in here as well. Written in the Stars starts with strings and tribal drums, and then the guitars come in. It has a more epic sound, there is the Wintersun influence here. As I listen, I feel compelled to headbang. There is also a lovely piano interlude.
No folk metal album is without a drinking song. Magic Mead provides just that. I feel like dancing and jigging would occur if this was played live, and there’s nothing like a good old jig pit to folk metal! There is a heavier mid-section, but the majority of the track add to the perfect drinking song. Tip of the Spear then brings back the Ensiferum influence. There is fighting and a warrior’s call to battle with some piano accompaniment to open the track, and the track is full of headbanging riffs and and a catchy chorus.
A Soldier’s Song definitely has more of the Amon Amarth influence in the guitar rhythms, once again there are catchy riffs and a calming interlude. Black Forest Rain starts with, strangely enough, rain, and a single guitar. This track is a lot calmer, and a breather from the heavier tones of the rest of the album. There is a hint of a storm brewing in the background, and the drums make it sounds like the threat of the storm is drawing nearer.
Spellbinder kicks off calmly, with a more distorted guitar sound. Then the main riff kicks in, and it’s once again oh so catchy; you can once again hear the Amon Amarth and Ensiferum influences. It’s a headbanging track with a singalong chorus. The title and penultimate track North Hammer is reminiscent of Wintersun. Again we have the headbanging and catchy riffs, and I can imagine with a live crowd the chorus would be chanted back to the stage.
The final track, Lion’s Winter, has the Amon Amarth influence, with fast paced chugging. There are slower sections to this track as well. Sadly the track seems to cut off almost abruptly, and is a bit of an anti-climax to the album. However, this is probably due to the decision to change the ordering of the tracks.
This album is full of some great tracks, there’s definitely some tracks like Magic Mead and Wanderer that I will be listening to over and over again. I feel like the album should have kept the original track order to tell the story of the album. Overall it’s a great folk metal album, and if you like your folk metal on the heavier side it’s definitely an album you need to check out, and North Hammer is definitely a band you need to keep your eye on!
North Hammer on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NorthHammerOfficial/
Buy Stormcaller: https://northhammer.bandcamp.com/releases