Release Date: 16th February 2019
Record Label: Unsigned
At Wacken Winter Nights, my good friend Lee (DoomFace) recommended this band to me, and he recommended them in a recent YouTube video, alongside other bands. I heard a very small snippet of a Norvhar recording at the festival, but then after hearing his recommendation on his video, I just knew I had to have a listen.
From Fire… starts very quietly, and the strings very slowly come in to set the scene. A deep, male voice begins the narration, beginning to tell his tale. There are choral vocals and drums come in, ready to tell the tale. Fest in Midgard starts out like an old medieval party, strumming on a stringed instrument, and then the full Norvhar sound kicks in. It’s heavy and folky with harsh vocals, There is a large Ensiferum feel to this song with the fast gallopy feel. I definitely feel like there could be a pit to this track live, and the track finishes as though it could be a singalong at a party. It’s very much in keeping with the overall theme of the track.
Of Stone, Gold & Blood has a jovial pipe melody with the same feel as Fest in Midgard. There are sections of spoken word and harsh vocals, and it is especially apparent that the spoken word sections refer to a The Hobbit, and the Lonely Mountain theme, particularly when they mention the Arkenstone. Mystic Forest does indeed start mystically, with the sounds of flowing water, and birds. There is also a jaw harp in there. The bass comes in, and it has a cheeky, almost mischievous tone to the melody. The flute comes in over the top, then the full band kicks in and the guitar takes over the flute melody. There is a bit of a change in the tone of the track in its duration with a bit more grit, but it still has the mischievous feel from the intro.
Goblin’s Outpost has a tavern, almost pirate feel with the accordion, but it also has the feel that you would expect when you hear the word “goblins”. Once again there is a very heavy Ensiferum feel, with a slower pace that you can definitely have a headbang to. The jaw harp provides a mystical interlude, and the pace quickens towards the end. Ten minute epic Fields of Fate begins slowly, with acoustic guitar and strings, then pipes, followed by bass and drums, and then electric guitar. The pace quickens a little into an Ensiferum style gallop. There is an accordion solo and very fast paced drums, and then an almost black metal section accompanies spoken word. Then the music returns to the feel from the beginning, with spoken word and whispers.
We end our epic tale, back in the same place we found our narrator, accompanied by fire crackling, and birdsong. There is acoustic guitar, flute, and another stringed instrument. The narrator passes on his final words, before the listener, or wayfarer, is left to carry on telling the story. Birdsong feels as though the track has ended, but not before a traditional feeling male vocal song. It feels very traditional and somber, and reminds me of the song that Pippin sings to the Denethor in the Lord of the Rings films.
I am really glad that DoomFace recommended this band to me, as it is another folk metal band to add to my music rotation. The album sounds really professionally mastered, and the composition is immaculate. I hope for Norvhar to release many more albums, especially if they are of this caliber. A tale of the wayfarer’s journey beyond this album would be most welcomed by me, but whatever they put out there in the future, if it is of this quality, I will be among the first to give it a listen.
Buy Norvhar music and merch: https://norvhar.bandcamp.com/
Listen to Norvhar on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/49CFf17fFAMAl4JQhwgu3F
Follow Norvhar on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Norvhar/