Album: The Druid King
I was listening to the cool heavy metal intro to album “The Druid King” by Niviane, enjoying the opening measures of the song “The Beserker” when, all of a sudden I heard the most devastating animal howl that would even make a saber tooth tiger run in fear. High pitch, scorched earth, fang wielding terror. The vocals, scary good and scary, scary at the same time. Then suddenly a moment of tenderness at the outro of the tune, leaving you wondering what madness lies ahead.
“Adrestia” Middle eastern flavor with excellent drumming, then the voices come in sounding like Tom Waits’ throaty growl being run through a meat grinder. Mr. Skinner is gritty low, he’s gritty high and he’s gritty in between. The man’s throat needs to be donated to science, or the military. It might be our next strategic weapon.
“Watch The Banners Fall”. A pounding drum intro featuring slicing guitars breaks down to a clean guitar whisper. Aaron Robitsch brings in a large choir patch to build up the intro as it progresses. He is an excellent and tasteful keyboard arranger. Then the vocals come in and Mr. Skinner sounds human, even sensitive. He’s a vocal chameleon. There is a storm after the calm, of course. The song explodes into a very melodic metal adventure with Mr. Skinner sharpening the razor blades in his throat once again. The music gave me a visual of an unholy ritual, summoning demons.
“Into Twilight” “Am I forsaken, frozen with fear in the dark?” “Love will fade into twilight.” Melodic, rhythmic and memorable, this radio friendly tune might bring a feeling of comfort to creatures who fear the dark.
“Gladiator” Heavy guitars introduce us to a high pitched screech intro. The melody is dangerous. The guitar playing is tasty, yet unusual. The band performances are laced with cyanide. I don’t think you want to meet this gladiator in the Coliseum. 50,000 spectators will watch you die.
“Arise Samurai” Heavy and fast. Blood sword slashing through the air. Guitar notes ripping at a sweat strewn blouse. The rhythm section of bassist Rick Stallkamp and drummer Noe Luna are monsters throughout the album, devastating and deadly. Toward the end of the song, a tremendous musical arrangement with demon vocals comes in and it doesn’t get bigger or darker than this.
“Elegy” A sensitive vocal performance builds once again to a powerful, double kick, rocking chorus. Mr. Skinner has a very resonant lower mid-range vocal tone reminiscent of David Draiman of Disturbed. He can really break the ladies’ hearts. As throughout the album, the guitar work of Gary Tarplee and Mark Miner is stellar.
“March Of The Jötunn” Another strong blood pumping tune with double kick chorus. The Jötunn were members of a race of nature spirits with superhuman strength. Their otherworldly homeland is Jötunheimr, one of the nine worlds of Norse cosmology, separated from Midgard, the world of humans, by high mountains or dense forests. By definition: “glutton” or “man-eater”, probably in the sense of personifying chaos or the destructive forces of nature. In the case of this tune they are clearly marching, I assume to kill us. I don’t think anything escapes this album alive.
“War Of Immortals” Right out the shoot we hear high pitched screams of war. Double kicking, guitars wailing, vocals shrieking. This sounds like a musical battlefield, bodies strewn drowning in blood. War is hell, but this song is cool!
“Heaven Overflow” The track to this tune is very intricate and intriguing. Double kicks and guitar riffs galore combined with a great vocal performance make this a strong tune.
Closer and title song “The Druid King” is melodic metal at its finest. Monster vocals answering sung vocals over a story line about the court of The Druid King. This will be ambrosia to the ears of metal fans.
Ancient – foreboding – dark – conquering armies pillaging the comfortable chair in which you sit to listen to “The Druid King”. If I were you, I would put on my Cosplay armor and grab my shield and sword to do battle with this fine album by Niviane. Take a seat in the court of these seasoned musical warriors in their metal kingdom and see if you survive.
Niviane Band Line-Up
Vocals – Norman Skinner (Imagika, Skinner, Hellscream)
Guitars – Gary Tarplee
Guitars – Mark Miner
Bass – Rick Stallkamp
Drums – Noe Luna (Skinner, 3 Lunas)
Aaron Robitsch (Graveshadow) brought in to compose and record keyboards.