October 7, 2022

Nordic Union – Animal Review

Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Melodic Metal

EU release date: August 12, 2022

Connections: https://www.facebook.com/NordicUnionMusic

Line up:

Ronnie Atkins – lead and backing vocals

Erik Martensson – lead and rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards and backing vocals

Additional musicians:

Fredrik Folkare – Lead Guitar

Henrik Eriksson – Drums

Thomas Larsson – Lead Guitar on “Scream”, “Riot”, and “Last Man Alive”

List of tracks:

1. On this day I fight

2. Every waking hour

3. If I Could Fly

4. Riot

5. It Means War

6. Scream

7. Animalist

8. Wildfire

9. Shot in the Dark

10. The Last Man Alive

11. King for a Day

The first time I heard Ronnie Atkins’ voice was in 1984 when I listened to “Cold Killer” by pretty maids. No doubt the guitars impressed but Atkins with his unique voice was a jaw-dropping moment. In the meantime, many years have passed and the devastating news of Atkins battling cancer came as a shock to the metal world. The question of whether there will be any new songs from the iconic singer has suddenly become moot.

This is all the greater as the exceptional Danish artist has not only released a solo album but is now also on tour with Avantasia. In addition, he recorded a new album with Nordic Union and it seems that hard rock and metal are an elixir that helps even in the most difficult situations.

The core of Nordic Union is made up of Erik Martensson and Ronnie Atkins. With the self-titled debut album, the project achieved more than remarkable success and strengthened the musical class with “Second Coming”. Four years later, ‘Animalistic’ hits record stores and can certainly surpass the popularity of the previous two albums. Songs like the thunderous ‘Wildfire’, a melodic metal song in a class of its own, certainly contribute to this. Everything is right here. The hooks, melody line, solo and vocals complement each other perfectly and make the track a highlight.

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Now ‘Animalistic’ is an album with no shortage of great songs. Better said, the album is unfailing and even the peaceful ‘Riot’ is anything but a standard ballad. Atkins sings the tune with a lot of heart and soul and a line like “How can I turn down the riot in my head” says it all. This song has a very personal side to it and stands out for that alone. The new Nordic Union begins to sway. ‘On This Day I Fight’ is a terrific opener that immediately catches the ear. The album continues with ‘In Every Waking Hour’. Ronnie Atkins gives the song the intensity it needs while Martensson has forged hooks that stick with you. “This Means War” is a bit slower and has a heavy beat which is very appealing. Last but not least, the title track should be mentioned. “Animalistic” is aptly named the album and has plenty of 80s flair without sounding dated.

In summary, we can say that Nordic Union managed to create another exceptional album. Melody, heaviness and rock’n’roll spirit, that’s what makes ‘Animalistic’ an excellent album. It’s no wonder that the sound and production are beefed up even more with Erik Martensson at the controls. This album is one of the highlights of 2022.

Written by: Markus Wiedenmann

Rating 9/10

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