Northern Kings - 2007 Reborn


ARTIST: Northern Kings
ALBUM: Reborn
LABEL: Warner Music Finland
SERIAL: 5051442-4451-2-1
YEAR: 2007


LINEUP: Jarkko Ahola, JP Leppäluoto, Marco Hietala, Tony Kakko - vocals * Erkka Korhonen - guitars * Erkki Silvennoinen - bass * Anssi Nykänen - drums * Villi Ollila - keyboards, piano, programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Stop Believin' * 02 We Don't Need Another Hero * 03 Broken Wings * 04 Rebel Yell * 05 Ashes To Ashes * 06 Fallen On Hard Times * 07 I Just Died In Your Arms * 08 Sledgehammer * 09 Don't Bring Me Down * 10 In The Air Tonight * 11 Creep * 12 Hello * 13 Brothers In Arms

RATING: image


Northern Kings originated on one of the famous Raskasta Joulua tours - an ever-changing entity of musicians and singers performing Finnish Christmas tunes in a metal arrangement, similar to what Trans-Siberian Orchestra does.

Four of the regular singers of Raskasta Joulua joined together and alongside the band's mastermind, former Urban Tale guitarist Erkka Korhonen, famous Finnish orchestral music composer Mikko P. Mustonen and Aleksi Parviainen of Kiuas fame who helped to arrange and produce the vocals crafted this symphonic metal cover album.

The Songs

'Don't Stop Believin' transforms from a cute pep-talk to a nation-wide epic motivational speech in Northern Kings' version, and that's what's going on throughout the album - 80's hits are being almost completely transformed into symphonic metal monsters.

Marco Hietala, the frightening, Viking-like, metal to the core of his voice, frontman of Tarot and Nightwish has lent his talents to this Journey cover, as well as the driving, motivating Jethro Tull cover 'Fallen On Hard Times', and a rather chilling remake of 'In The Air Tonight'.

Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica (and my personal favourite of the four) has unfortunately picked some relatively uninteresting songs to cover - 'Ashes To Ashes' sounds pale and wavering, and the Mr Mister cover 'Broken Wings' sounds rather unfinished and vague.

The extremely colourful cover of 'Sledgehammer', however, completely makes up for these song choices.

JP Leppäluoto of Charon and Poisonblack brings a rather gothic touch to the album, with the slow, ominous cover of 'Rebel Yell'.

A cover of 'Creep' where Radiohead's angstiness is finally replaced with some good ol' fashioned creepy crooning that truly sends a chill to my spine, and he's had the privilege of closing the album with the subdued 'Brothers In Arms' that in one moment explodes in grandiosity where his soft, rich low baritone gets a chance to shine.

Jarkko Ahola of Teräbetoni (Finland's answer to Manowar) has the most interesting choice of songs - a very upbeat and bombastic cover of ELO, 'Don't Bring Me Down', the classic dancefloor hit 'I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight' is through the strengths of his dizzy tenor turned into a momentous ballad with tragic undertones, and for the opposite effect, the gentle Lionel Richie ballad 'Hello' is sped up and made more cheerful.

'We Don't Need Another Hero' is the most interesting song of the bunch - the vocal lines of the original remained intact, and the interplay between the four of their voices elevates it to new heights.

In Summary

'Reborn' lacked only two things to become the best cover album I've ever heard, and those are more songs where the four of the singers sang together, and a few more interesting song choices, which are flaws that have been corrected on Northern Kings' following album, 'Rethroned'.

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