For those who are into metal, you’d be hard-pressed these days to find somebody that doesn’t know who Noora Louhimo is. But, if you’re one of those few, never fear, for I will shed some much-needed light on your sad life.
Noora Louhimo has been the frontwoman of the heavy metal band Battle Beast since 2012, when she replaced Nite Valo. With a past in jazz, blues, and rock, she stormed her way onto the metal scene and quickly made a name for herself with her powerful, raspy, and epic vocal style.
This morning, Noora made the announcement of a solo project that will pay homage to her roots.
Here’s what her official Instagram and Facebook post says: “This year I’ve been working on my first solo album with my band and can’t wait to get it out for you to listen. This might come as a shock to someone but my roots as a musicians comes from blues, jazz, soul and rock music. Before @battlebeastband I’d sing all other genres but heavy metal. I wanted to learn to sing in all possible ways but I didn’t know why – until 2012 when I was asked to join Battle Beast in which I’ve been able to use my voice in so many ways and is the best job to be the lead singer of the band. To give little bit something back to my idols such as Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Queen…. In my solo project it is time to go back to the roots…in many ways.“
Excited for more information? Go follow Noora’s official Facebook page!
I’ve said before (as I’m sure many others have) that melodic death metal is just extreme power metal with harsh vocals. Nowhere is this more apparent in Finnish outfit Brymir, whose rough vocals are the only thing holding it back from being outright power metal. The keyboards are many, the guitars are clean, and it’s epic as all hell. Axeman Joona Björkroth once again demonstrates his fearsome shredding skill (which is fortunate, because Battle Beast’s upcoming No More Hollywood Endings all but denied him the chance to play to his capabilities).
I must say, even if I try I can’t quite compare Brymir directly to anything else because of how blatantly unique it is. The closest band that I know of would probably be Wintersun, but even they aren’t very similar. So, in that department, Brymir scores serious points. However, even though each song is very dynamic, with booming highs to placid lows and everything in between, there’s a limited amount of variety among the song selection. That isn’t really an issue, though, because the songs are so fucking good.
Wings of Fire has a lot to offer for the power metal fan and extreme metal fan alike. The guitar melodies and solos are often uplifting and immensely impressive, but there’s no shortage of doom-inducing choirs and intense blast beats, as in ‘Sphere of Halcyon’ and ‘Ride on, Spirit’. Overall, there’s a fifty-fifty split between the symphonic and metal elements, which would make the music more accurately described as soundtrack metal than melodic death metal.
On a side note, one thought that I haven’t been able to shake is the fact that, aside from the vocals, pretty much every song sounds like a boss battle theme. Seriously, just try to tell me that you don’t notice it, too; all the orchestral parts and pounding drums make me feel like I’m about to get my ass handed to me in Dark Souls or something (yes, I know that there are no “pounding drums” in Dark Souls, but I digress).
There are few highlights for me on this record because it’s very much a team effort. That being said, the opener, ‘Gloria in Regum’, is my favourite track. It hits fast and hard, with chugging riffs and epic choirs, and the rhythm section shots are excellent. It also features Battle Beast’s Noora Louhimo (although you’d never notice her) and a wicked solo from Björkroth.
With three albums so far, Brymir has never failed to produce something individual and new. Wings of Fire is an exceptional piece of work, and its blend of electronics, death metal, and orchestras feels natural and allows a richly deep sound. This group has a bright future ahead and, if their next album is half as entertaining as this one, I eagerly await their next release.
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