Bart M. : NortherN is a black metal band from the United States. Formerly known as Cold Northern Vengeance, in 2016, after almost fifteen years, they decided to change their name to the shorter, less suggestive NortherN and 'Desolate Ways To Ultimate Thule' is the first album they release under that moniker.
The album has a lot more different musical influences than its predecessors en NortherN does a very good attempt at making this a big success. It starts out very strong, after the intro, with 'Fall Into Winter', a song that has a melody that is not cheesy at all, but still quite catchy. We hear a kind of classical black metal onto which some more modern ideas are released. Following this song is 'A Wolf's Angle', equally strong and again a lengthy narrative with really no points of complaint. The bit where it starts to get a lot more interesting is at the end of this song and the beginning of the next, 'Alaskan Ice', where we hear short bits of conversation regarding serial killers, a not exclusively yet very typically American topic, and I think NortherN could have created something really big and unique if they had focused their lyrics on that subject (I know there are other bands playing other genres that do this, but combining serial killing with black metal, think about the possibilities). Instead, we are treated to some more typically Scandinavian themes and occasionally this is being stressed by folkish choirs. I think this is not a very good combination with the aforementioned black metal, but that might be a matter of personal preference.
Still, 'Desolate Ways To Ultimate Thule' is really not a bad record. It has a lot of interesting and beautiful pieces of music that next to the folkish choirs also contain Urfaust-like screams. This band showcases a very great deal of potential, but at this moment it sounds a little directionless and incomplete.