The four-piece German melodic death metal act, Nothgard, has had three full-length albums since their seven years of inception. I first came across their very first release, “Warhorns of Midgard” a little over three years ago and in all honesty, I do not recall being particularly astonished by the said album at the time. I must have unraveled enough interesting elements to their music to convince me that their latest, “The Sinner’s Sake” merited a listen, though.
The gap of five years between their first and their latest was bound to be enormous and stupendous, both in good and bad ways. Due to better production, it is evident that the instruments are more distinct and less muddy; their overall sound has become significantly well-defined as a result. However, it looks as if the band’s level of creativity has become stale and musicianship, in a state of a downward spiral.
With “Glittering Shades“, “The Sinner’s Sake” is introduced with an over-the-top cinematic piece that one might mistake for a Two Steps From Hell song; a piece that may lead the listener to believe there is more of this experience on the way, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The album doesn’t rely heavily on the orchestrations as one might expect from the strong impression of the introduction. As for a careful description of the rest of the tracks, it would require the usage of the words “cheesy” and “pompous”, with negative connotations. Aside from the intro and last track “Sin Eater“, it is difficult not to ignore the fact that the tracks swim in the pool of recycled riffs of Children of Bodom, Norther, Mors Principum Est, Brymir and SuidakrA. The album dares to have its own face in brief moments and most transparently in the melodies, but it’s not enough to generate much of a difference. There is a small hint of their past and a bit of uniqueness that prominently lies in “Death Unites” – in which one can still, to a certain degree, recognize their folky origins.
“The Sinner’s Sake” rides in the shadows of established bands way too excessively to the point that it makes me cringe: from the tone of the guitars to the quality of the harsh vocals, not enough for me to hold this album in high regard. It is by no means a terrible album and would perhaps grab numerous melodic death fans out there who are in need of a bit of a twist in the epic direction.
They are striking the right chords but being all too familiar with the bands I have mentioned, I cannot enjoy this album – it is gravely cumbersome to listen to.
01 – Glittering Shades (Intro) (Instrumental)
02 – From Lambs to Lions
03 – The Sinner’s Sake
04 – Iron Sights
05 – Death Unites
06 – Shadow Play
07 – Descendants of the Sun
08 – Last Child Standing
09 – Draining Veins
10 – When Gods Cry
11 – Sin Eater
Playing time: 47:26
Release date: 23 September 2016