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  • Jason Hesley

"Raven Banner," by From North, melds melodic death with folk metal!

"Raven Banner," From North's sophomore album, stands as a stalwart example of melodic death metal infused with the storytelling spirit of folk metal. The Swedish ensemble, comprising members with roots deeply planted in the death metal underground, showcases their collective experience and musical prowess. Each member brings a distinct flair to the band's sound: Håkan Johnsson's vocals serve as a clarion call to the past, while the guitars of Mattias Svensson and Janne Lüthje weave intricate riffs that honor the melodic tradition. Conny Pettersson's drums echo the march of ancient warriors, and Mikael Kindblad's bass provides the solid foundation upon which these sagas are told.

The album presents a narrative arc through its tracklist, starting with the eponymous "Raven Banner," a symbol of Viking lore, and culminating in "Winterblot," which conjures the depth of Scandinavian winters and ancient rites. Each track, from "Berserkers" to "Shield Wall," is a tribute to the valor and myths that have shaped a culture known for its fierce independence and profound connection to nature.

The production values, upheld by the skilled hands of David Mauritzon at Soundtornado Studio, ensure that each song delivers both the rawness of battle and the clarity of the story. With its release on November 24, 2023, through At Dawn Records, "Raven Banner" is not merely an album but a historical canvas, painting scenes of Norse mythology with every chord and chorus.

The band's commitment to authenticity and passion for their heritage is palpable, promising to resonate with fans of genre giants like Amon Amarth and Eluveitie. "Raven Banner" is not an album of hyperbole but a heartfelt homage to the tales that have survived the test of time, now retold with the fervor of modern metal. It's an invitation to explore the depths of folkloric metal through the lens of musicians who have lived and breathed this genre in their previous incarnations and now in From North.

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