Vera : This happens to be an infectious pagan metal record from the North, thanks to the Canadian multi-instrumentalist Andrew James Sutherland. He has written all the material for North Hammer’s debut album ‘Stormcaller’ while he is responsible for vocals, guitars, bass, orchestration and production. Drums were handled by Doug Helcaraxë Nunez, for the mastering he finally ended up in Germany with Lasse Lammert, long time producer for Alestorm.
Andrew puts it straight: Quorthon is his hero, but influences mainly come from Ensiferum, Wintersun and Amon Amarth. Thus it is no wonder that the raucous vocals remind us of Petri Lindroos/Jari Mäenpää and the lower ranged growls of Johan Hegg. All this is ornamented with guitar accents in the vein of Amon Amarth and consequently quite catchy. Nothing new under the sun and less innovative than – for instance – Jörmungand we recently reviewed, but deliciously fetching. Andrew approached the making of this album as a fan and it is obvious were his roots are situated. In ‘Avatar’ we hear epic choirs to start with, followed by fine guitar skills, harsh vocals versus low-ranged growls. ‘Wanderer’ happens to be more storytelling with clean vocals, mid-paced and elegant guitar leads. Orchestration is featured a bit more in ‘Written In The Stars’, also including a piano intermezzo. The compact songs have an overall battle-like timbre, with ‘North Hammer’ as most inciting track and ‘Black Forest Rain’ as beautiful instrumental interlude. In brief, this is a proper Viking metal album for fans of the genre. For the time being it is a studio project, but the intention is to expand the band and play live. Welcome guys!