Black Lodge Records, 07.04.17
Less than half a year ago, Swedish Netherbird dropped their fourth album, The Grander Voyage.
The band has five singles and six EPs spread across more than ten years of activity. The songs on this 77 minute compilation are taken from about half of these, offering among other five cover songs.
The material still don't splay too much, although we're served a wide range of expressions. Melodic black/death with a touch of folk and Vikings, as well as a hint of pompous gothic romanticism, constitutes the primary essence.
The first two songs, Brazen Splendor and Scuptors and Specres are originally B-sides from two singles released a few months before The Grander Voyage. As on the album, Fredrik Widigs (Marduk, Nordjevel) has handled the drums on these. The first of them has a lot of Viking atmosphere, while the latter has a more malignant black metallic touch.
The next four songs are the EP Abysmal Allure from 2011 in its entirety, while the four consecutive songs presents the EP Shadows and Snow published the same year. Vocalist Nephente used both growl and black vocals on these. The black vocals, however, had a bit of pitched, hoarse whisper, with an ever so tiny hint of Cradle of Filth. Fortunately without Dani's shrill shrieks. The Swedes also had a slightly stronger Gothic appearance this time, which also allows small associations to the Brits.
The EP Covered in Darkness from 2009 is presented in the tracks 11-14. As indicated in the title, these are cover-songs. After the classic As I Die by Paradise Lost, comes Nepenthe a song released by Finnish Sentenced in 1995. Could it be from this that the vocalist has taken his pseudonym? Annihilator's classic Alison Hell follows, but of course lacking the eminent guitar sequence of the original. It's still nice to hear the already creepy song in a slightly more aggressive package. Less interesting Firmament Vacation stems from The Soundtrack of Our Lives, a Swedish rock band.
Yet another cover follows, and it may seem as if it's either recorded for the occasion, or is simply unreleased. Conquest, Love & Self Perseverance starts off acoustic and atmospheric, but is not very exciting in the long run. The Swedish neofolk- and martial-industrial band The Gospel Of Aptitude have originally written this. Hymns From realms Yonder end with a different and shorter version of the track Pillars of one of last year two singles, this time performed on the grand piano only.
All in all, this is a very audible, albeit not mandatory release. Those located in the target audience can safely check out Hymns From Realms Yonder. Chances are it'll appeal.