I loved 2018’s ‘Remarkable Rock’ from Norway’s Northwind. And if you love your classic Rock with Progressive leanings you’ll love it too. Covid of course has delayed this one but it’s definitely worth the wait especially if you loved the first outing.
Opener ‘Invisible Heroes’ lays down a great groove with drums, guitar then bass before an Ozzy-like vocal adds some early Sabbath vibes to the mix, caressed by some great backing vocals. There’s a great mellow breakdown before a fiery guitar solo kicks in. Your immediate thought when the Hammond joins that already heady mix is ‘This is a band I need to see live!’ These guys haven’t missed a beat!
‘Signs’ has a purposeful riff leading the way before it dissolves into a contrastingly light male then female vocal that gives it a wonderful almost soundtrack feel before it breaks down into a jazzy bass-crawl led by drums and studded with guitar before another Sabbath-like riff overshadows that passage and the guitar wails! As someone who is not normally a fan of Prog Rock this is enough to turn me to the dark side!
‘Beyond the End’ keeps that balance of 70’s Progressive and Hard Rock and mixes Niclas’ and Mona’s vocals to great effect even offering up an almost spoken word guttural male accent at time. It’s an interesting passage, that has a feel of Rock opera about it. ‘Bully’ that follows tells a lyrical story of redemption and freedom driven by those wonderful guitars and organ! And when ‘Unchain Me’ kicks in you get the feel that you’re in the middle of a concept album as you start to draw the strings together. It’s something that makes the album more cohesive as a whole without distracting from the individual songs. Indeed ‘Unchain Me’ has some wonderful passages, a wonderful almost mystical ‘Eastern-looking’ breakdown and all the light and shade you could want. It gets more addictive each play.
As contrast ‘The Dark’ is far more gentle and languid opening with light acoustic guitar and a lullaby-like female vocal. Before the crash of guitar splits the song and that vocal we heard in the opening song crashes in before it too dissolves into a mellower plea and back again. It’s a beautiful piece of music in isolation and one of my highlights here. ‘March of the Keepers’ opens with a rather ecclesiastical sounding organ before the tale begins. It’s a wonderful narrative underscored by a driving guitar and another real highpoint – this is a record that is ending rather strongly!
Title track ‘Imperfect Harmony’ ends the album proper with a what initially seems like a traditional ballad, a great vocal underpinned by swelling organ and accented by guitars before it takes a turn led by drums towards a fiery guitar bolstered refrain. It’s that Deep Purple meets Uriah Heep vibe again with a series of twists and turns that keep it breathing and compelling. It’s a great way to close.
Bonus track ‘Krakevisa’ is an interesting addition – a Hard Rocking version of a traditional Scandanavian Medieval Ballad. It’s great, and though I imagine you could both, drink and dance and make-merry to it I just managed to resist the temptation.
Like their debut diversity is again the key here and the result is another collection of songs that take as their starting point melody, which is then infused with elements of Metal and 70’s Rock with a healthy predisposition towards Progressive music and Rock Opera. With the same line-up here for the second record Northwind again fail to put a foot wrong.
Lineup: Niclas T. Winther – Vocals | Mona Stang Svendsen – Vocals | Lars Svendsen – Guitars | Kai Brekke – Bass | Hjaran Berge – Drums | Nicky Georgiev – Keyboards