NorthTale is a recently formed power metal super group that signed to Nuclear Blast records in 2018. The band consists of members Bill Hudson (ex-Cellador, ex-Power Quest), Patrick Johansson (drummer, Sabaton fill-in, G3 drummer and W.A.S.P.), Christian Eriksson (Ex-Twilight Force), Mikael Planefeldt and Jimmy Pitts.
Welcome to Paradise is there first album.
First things first, this album is fantastic. While it certainly has its moments of cheesy, redundant and over-the-top power metal, those aren’t prevalent as often as other power metal bands such as Power Quest. However, in regards to Power Quest, that over-the-top power metal playing is precisely the reason that I listen to them.
In Northtale’s case, there strength lies in the guitar abilities of Bill Hudson, keyboardist Jimmy Pitts and the high intensity vocals of Christian Eriksson, former vocalist of the epic power metal band Twilight Force. While the vocals carry the entirety of the album laden with positive messages (hence Welcome to Paradise (city?)), the album carries a strong neoclassical influence from the guitars and keyboards, and especially on the song “Siren’s Fall” where a dueling guitar and keyboard solo ensues midway through.
Taking nods indirectly from Stratovarius, “Playing with Fire” is another highlight track from the record. In fact, the entire album is one large fire of guitar solos and harmonies. The most damage from the song to your ears are the blisteringly fast solos, and I’m serious when I say that the album is one long firebending of keyboard and guitar solos.
The rhythm is incredibly tight on the album, with Planefeldt and Johansson carrying their duties diligently. However, I can’t help but feel that the rhythm section in most power metal bands are starting to become a weak point. While it’s understandable that it is essentially required to have a strong, consistent rhythm section for the melodic aspects of a power metal band to fall over, there is a certain redundancy in this aspect of the genre that gets carried on from band to band and album to album.
Still, NorthTale’s debut is an ideal starting point for a neoclassical, power metal band. I hope that the band continues to expand and possibly take themselves in a heavier and darker direction than their first album, and hope that the guitarist and keyboardist continues to provide a neoclassical feel to subsequent albums.