Monthly Archives: April 2015

Nordic Giants // A Séance Of Dark Delusions – Review

Live shows don’t come more spectacular, immersive and awe-inspiring than when Nordic Giants take the stage. Their performances have been captivating fans across the continent for a while now, and the release of their first full length record is sure to stir a great deal of excitement among those who know just what these guys are capable of. Nordic Giants’ unique and inventive sound lends itself to a phenomenal live show, but how will ‘A Séance Of Dark Delusions’ compare when they have already set the bar so high?

‘Elysian Skies’ opens the record, and is immediately recognisable to those who have heard anything from Nordic Giants before. Their use of drawn out atmospheric synth and string sounds combine with heavenly vocals to mesmerise the listener into a splendid state of calm and curiosity about what they have got in store. Building slowly, introducing some brilliantly synced brass, before disappearing into silence, the opener sets the scene gloriously.

Our curiosity is somewhat satisfied when ‘Evolve Or Perish’ commences. Elegant noise plays in the background of some empirical electronic sounds, before Nordic Giants’ characteristic soaring piano comes into play along with burgeoning drums, immediately showing that their live sound can be converted on to a record and still have the same goose-bump inducing effect. A brief interlude for a poignant sample of a speech – perfectly resonating with the tracks title – eventually plays along with the instrumental backing to fully engage the listener on all fronts.

Image courtesy of http://musicalmathematics.co.uk/

Rapture‘ introduces the first of a number of featured artists on the album, with Beth Cannon’s delicate voice adding further depth to a slightly more vibrant track than the last, which marches on with crashing snare-symbol combinations. Layered vocals race unrelentingly right through till the end, before track four commences with intriguing and captivating echoes. ‘Give Flight To The Imagination’ featuring more guest vocals from Freyja, is a gentle atmospheric number, bringing the tempo and tone of the album down dramatically from its forceful beginnings.

This slower pace does not last however, as we are again thrown into the majestic ambience of Nordic Giants’ vivid sound on ‘Dissolve’. This time a male voice can be heard via Saturday Sun, though it materialises in a similarly angelic style to the previous vocals. They accompany a sound of real vigour and prowess, with a slower tempo contributing towards a fierce and heavy tone; while always maintaining the trademark four-stroke piano riff throughout. ‘Illuminate’ uses an interesting new stimulus to keep things fresh, steering the record clear of any potential monotony expertly. Plucked sounds flirt with pulsating vocals, before an imposing burst breaches the middle of the track. Further interesting electronic sounds persist along with the lyric-less vocals, until another distinctive piano led burst, gaining volume and intensity before another abrupt end.

Nordic Giants

A very rare photo that I actually took myself at ArcTanGent Festival 2014

‘Futures Dark’ featuring Nadine Wild Palmer is yet another Nordic Giants barnstormer. If you didn’t know what Nordic Giants sounded like before now, you certainly won’t forget them for a long time after this mammoth four minutes. The short penultimate track ‘Black Folds’ again builds slowly and persistently, until the spine tingling brass echoes audible inspiration as only brass can do in this thoroughly satisfying short piece.

Closing with a seven minute titan, ‘A Thousand Lost Dreams’ builds excruciatingly, quietening down just as you feel like you can’t take the suspense any longer. Exploding into colossal life after what feels like an eternity, tearing through the suspense into something biblical. Apocalyptic roars of pure Nordic Giants perfection engulf the listener and finalise what has been a truly astonishing séance. No doubt this track, and album as a whole will be phenomenal to see live, with their ingenious use of relatively basic instruments, unparalleled use of the visual arts, and unmistakable attire, Nordic Giants will simply never disappoint.

A Séance Of Dark Delusions is released in the UK on 04/05/2015

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St George’s Flag Is Tainted, Whether You Like It Or Not

St George’s flag will have been glimpsed by millions all over the country today, being flown in the traditional style by some, and shared in the more modern spheres by many. While browsing some peoples posts online however, I found that many shared their images and views along with remarkably defensive comments alluding to the flags recent tendency to offend.

As frustrating as it understandably may be for a flag to cause such outrage, I find it equally frustrating that people still can’t understand the negative connotations that are now lingering behind the flag of St George.

In terms of the flag itself, it is at worst a harmless symbol, and a fairly bland one at that. At best it represents a hugely respectable Christian figure in ancient history who was killed in the early fourth century. Despite St George being in no way English and having absolutely no historical link with England whatsoever, he is not a bad character to have representing a country, which explains why so many others have adopted him as their own. But the people who now use the flag are giving it a new, tragically less respectable meaning, and the blame lies with the English Defence League and similar extreme far-right groups.

The epitome of the EDL’s tarnishing of St George’s cross

Image courtesy of thesun.co.uk

The EDL are liberal to say the least with their St George imagery, and it is through this uncompromisingly violent pride that the flag has been rather ironically tainted. Yet some people cannot then see why using the same imagery as these groups leads to controversy, even though their intentions are likely nothing more than to display their own innocuous pride.

This is not the first time a positive symbol has been ruined by the people who choose it as their own. The swastika was originally used as a symbol of ‘life, sun, power, strength, and good luck’, but since it was adopted by the Nazis in the early 20th century, it has been synonymous with hatred and evil, and inevitably will be for a very, very long time.

Flying and sharing the flag of St George does not make you a supporter of the EDL, or a racist, or anything else it has been linked with. But being surprised at the admittedly modest amount of controversy that comes with it is naive. By all means share the flag, be proud of being English – I certainly am – but we cannot escape the fact that until these extremist groups are faint whimpers in history, the flag will carry their burden, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

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