NORTHWARD

Northward NU­CLEAR BLAST

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Albums. Lives. Merch. -

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

CLAY MARSHALL

Floor and Jorn’s projectis no longer on ice

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