Hmmm, well, it's ok.
The prolific Norther churn out their 5th album since 2002 and I have a couple of Norther albums somewhere in my collection. I have absolutely no idea where they are because they're not at the forefront of my albums I want to listen to. In 2004 I heard they were like Children Of Bodom, of whom I'm a big fan of, and after a couple of listens of 'Death Unlimited' I could only agree. Since then I've relegated those albums to the collection unlike my Children Of Bodom discography which is still in my 'easy to reach' rack. It's been four years since Death Unlimited and I was interested to see if Norther had moved on, changed their sound or were sticking with what they do best.
There is some Inflames hidden in this new release with a few dabs of 'Soilwork', but the spine of 'N' is still their signature sound, and in that respect the band have stuck to what they do best. The fans of Norther, who don't want the band to change, will lap up this release because it has those crisp guitars, melodic death metal rhythms and Petri Lindroos' recognisable sqwarking vocals. There are more clean vocals than I was expecting, which makes the band a half assed version of Soilwork, and doesn't really add anything to the overall music. 'To Hell' incorporates this vocal style the most, but as a result is the most laboured song on the album.
Like with the other Norther albums I have, there are a couple of decent tunes on 'N', but the rest of the album is same ol same ol that you could take or leave. 'My Antichrist' is a decent opener, 'Down' is also respectable, and 'Always And Never' has a good drive to it. 'We Rock' is the band's Finland only single (you mean it doesn't get released in England? How dare they?), and is also one of the album's highlights. After these tracks had finished I did find myself getting a little bored. Not even the mellow tendencies of 'If You Go' were interesting enough to break the monotony.
There's nothing really bad on 'N'. The songs are of a certain standard, but I feel the album lacks those superb ideas that their contemporaries such as Children Of Bodom, Dark Tranquility, In Flames and Arch Enemy seem to have at their disposal. 'N' is an average effort and will no doubt receive a couple of more listens before being consigned to the collection only to unearthed when I happen upon it in the future and play it because I can't remember what it sounds like.