Northward NUCLEAR BLAST
Nightwish frontwoman’s decade-old collaboration finally bears fruit
FIVE YEARS BEFORE she joined Nightwish, Floor Jansen and her After Forever bandmates hopped the pond to play the annual ProgPower USA festival, where they performed alongside the likes of Sonata Arctica, Primal Fear and, most significantly, the Norwegian ‘space metal’ quintet Pagan’s Mind. For the event’s grand finale, members of numerous acts on the bill participated in an all-star jam, where Floor belted out covers of Europe, Queen and Heart while backed by a band featuring Pagan’s Mind guitarist Jorn Viggo lofstad. The two hit it off so famously that they subsequently wrote a batch of songs together, but scheduling conflicts prevented the material from ever seeing the light of day. Until now that is, for while her Nightwish partners-in-crime recharged their batteries last year, Floor was finally wrapping up her unfinished business with Jorn.
Aside from demonstrating the singer’s formidable range, the resulting debut album by Northward – which features a punchy production courtesy of Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Epica) – has little in common with Nightwish’s lush and dramatic symphonic metal, instead variously recalling the peppy power-pop of Foo Fighters (While Love Died), the chuggy power doom of Black label Society (Big Boy) and the adventurous heavy-alt of Skunk Anansie (Get What You Give). As for Jorn, when he’s not pounding out riff after driving riff, he proves to be a well-studied disciple of Tom Morello, Neal Schon and Eddie Van Halen, with the blazing solo of Let Me Out meriting special mention. It’s an undeniably eclectic listen, and there are admittedly some tracks where the pair’s musical arrows fall short of the bull’s-eye, but when Floor sings ‘I just want some fun tonight’ on I Need, it’s easy to forgive any shortcomings. Here’s hoping it won’t be another decade until round two.
FOR FANS OF: HALESTORM, ALTER BRIDGE, LULLACRY
Floor and Jorn’s projectis no longer on ice