Reaper – Unholy Nordic Noise

3 min read

Band: Reaper
Title: Unholy Nordic Noise
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Release date: 31 January 2020
Country: Sweden
Format reviewed: Digital Promo

It’s a fairly common band name in the world of metal and I believe I cycled through at least four different ones before I found the one I was actually looking for. No they aren’t German, no they haven’t split up, no it’s not the Grim Reaper either.

The Swedish REAPER is releasing their debut album at the very end of January, on the 31st, via Iron Bonehead Productions. There was a limited edition demo released just last year containing three of the tracks of this record, sold in 300 copies in the form of a cassette. However time draws near for the record “Unholy Nordic Noise” to see the light of day, and I am fairly certain that those who did get the demo are excited to hear the rest.

The album contains in all 12 tracks. Each one rather short and in its entirety clocks in about 28 and a half minute. It reminds me of bands just as Birdflesh which does a good job at that sort of thing, so it’s safe to say that I had some hopes for this one.

The first track, titled “Intro” does not necessarily give you much idea of what you are in for, and it isn’t until the second track “Hero of the Graveyard Flies” that you get the feel of the where they are heading with this album. Its old school speed for sure with that old way of mixing. It’s speedy, thrashy and dirty and the vocals sound like a shrieking goblin. As the tracks are short as already stated, it doesn’t give each song too much time for much development rather than just all guns blazing, but what they appear to do in the following track “Severing Tentacles of Fate” is to take somewhat the same sound, and adding a little difference to it. It contained a slightly more melodic riffing and payed nice homage to the early trash-metal bands such as Metallica on the “Kill em All” album.

A slightly slower pace does not appear until “Order of the Beelzebub” however there is still a feel of horror death from the 80´s. The vocals as well as the whole mix are quite distorted, which surely adds to the punky and dirty sound, but I wasn’t a fan of the vocals during “The Birth of War”. The main riff of the track is kickass but the vocals were all over the place which casts a shadow on the musical performance. By “Surrender to the Void” you know what the viewpoint is, the formula is ever present but since the tracks are short it doesn’t make you tired of hearing the same thing, although in some cases a bit tweaked.

And just as there being an intro track, there is also an outro track. “Outro” is a cascade of melodies and drum fills. It fades over into the same as the intro, closing the circle in a nice way and I was satisfied, as this is not bad for a debut album.

The guitar riffs are the essence of this album, understandably so since this is guitar based music. However it also becomes critical that the riffs are good enough so that the songs don’t fall flat on their backs. Fortunately, that is not the case here. Its fast, punky, and old-school with d-beat drumming and tasty riffs that are good enough to make this a really good album considering the genre. The production, being by design or not, is alright. It’s not great, but it servers the music well and gives it that right sound, although it could be a bit more polished.
7.5/10 Julia


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