NORTHTALE – Welcome To Paradise (2019)

NORTHTALE - Welcome To Paradise (2019) full

Swedish-American metal super group NORTHTALE will unleash their much-anticipated debut album ‘Welcome To Paradise’, tomorrow, August 2.
An early concept for the band was formed in late 2017 by guitarist Bill Hudson as a side project while he was in U.D.O. Initially, Hudson planned to release a solo album. However, shortly after Christian Eriksson’s departure from Twilight Force in October 2017, Hudson took the opportunity to recruit him as the lead vocalist, and former Yngwie Malmsteen / ex WASP drummer Patrick Johansson.

All three had previously met before, and starting a band seemed like an obvious choice. Hudson and Eriksson had formerly met in person after a festival where both U.D.O. and Twilight Force had performed, and Eriksson and Johansson became acquainted while the latter was on tour with Malmsteen in California.

To form a complete roster, Eriksson brought on fellow Swede Mikael Planefeldt, who he studied with while being a student at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. Hudson said that choosing Jimmy Pitts as keyboardist was an “easy choice,” as they had previously met through mutual acquaintances while he played with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
On January 25th, 2018, Eriksson officially announced the formation of a new band that would eventually become NorthTale.

“We want to bring back the amazing golden years of melodic power metal. Like in the late Nineties, when Stratovarius, Helloween, HammerFall and all those bands were at their peak!” So says Hudson. That’s quite clearly a highly laudable aim, but it’s also an incredibly high bar to place for one’s band before a note has been heard from them.
Have they succeeded?

There are moments, most notably on the opening title track, the poppy metal ‘Everyone’s a Star’ (check out this song, it’s like H.E.A.T on steroids) and the quite superb standout cut ‘Siren’s Fall’ (which really could have come from a Stratovarius album from the late Nineties) when NorthTale absolutely follow through on their lofty promises.
The rest of the material is has that spirit, but much more commercial. The really catchy ‘Higher’ has a Helloween party feel, and there’s epicness on ‘Shape Your Reality’, yet with a more modern sound. The guitars are amazing in the latter, especially when building this powerful musical unity together with the keyboards and drums.

‘Bring Down the Mountain’ strays from the path a little – here the band go in for a sort of neo-classical stuff. Hudson shreds his heart out – you’re never more than thirty two bars away from some sort of arpeggiated sweep action, one feels – and former Yngwie drummer Patrick Johansson puts in just the sort of earth-shaking double kick tour de force you’d expect on every track. Likewise keyboardist Jimmy Pitts puts in a huge shift on the ivories – Jens Johansson‘s classic Strato-work comes to mind often.

And yes, there is this song, the sixth one, the ballad ”Way Of The Light”. This is not only words put together with added music, but music and words with meaning, entwined and belonging together. And the vocals are just flooded with feeling and it goes straight to the heart and soul and every nerve and brings out the tears.

Although certainly not perfect, “Welcome To Paradise” is a very enjoyable debut. The band sounds amazing, production is top notch, and the songs are very well arranged and executed.
Musically, this is the kind of modern classic melodic power metal with a commercial, accessible sound. There’s something for everyone here, from Helloween to H.E.A.T, from 90s Malmsteen to Axel Rudi Pell, you get the picture: heavy but extremely clean and polished.
Highly Recommended


01. Welcome to Paradise
02. Higher
03. Follow Me
04. The Rhythm of Life
05. Time to Rise
06. Way of the Light
07. Shape Your Reality
08. Everyone’s a Star
09. Siren’s Fall
10. Bring Down the Mountain
11. Playing with Fire
12. If Angels Are Real
13. Even When

Christian Eriksson (vocals, ex-Twilight Force)
Bill Hudson (guitars, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, ex-U.D.O.)
Mikael Planefeldt (bass)
Jimmy Pitts (keyboards)
Patrick Johansson (drums, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen / ex-WASP)


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