Nordic Union: Second Coming

Released: November 2018

Personnel:

  • Ronnie Atkins: Lead and backing vocals
  • Erik Martensson: Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Magnus Ulfsted: drums

Tracklist:

  1. My Fear and My Faith
  2. Because of Us
  3. It Burns
  4. Walk Me Through the Fire
  5. New Life Begins
  6. The Final War
  7. Breathtaking
  8. Rock’s Still Rolling
  9. Die Together
  10. The Best Thing I Never Had
  11. Outrun You

 Back in 2016 two old pros of the nordic hard rock scene: Ronnie Atkins of Pretty Maids (Denmark), and Erik Martensson of Eclipse (Sweden) joined up to make the first Nordic Union album.  It turned out to be a decent, listenable amalgam of the two bands,  with one or two great hard-rock stompers (notably the track “Hypocrisy”).  It was good enough that news of a follow-up was welcome.

Three singles were released and two of them showed some serious promise; alas the third was a slow moving and unabashedly political take-down of Donald Trump.  I didn’t much like it, and it remains my least favourite track on the album.

At any rate, the album also has a lot of slower, more ballady numbers, and while Atkins has a real talent for those kinds of songs they are not my favourites, I prefer the face-melters.  So I was prepared to be disappointed again, for the most part.  Two or three good rocking tracks and an okay batch for the rest of the album…but somehow, I kept listening. And somehow, the whole album started to dig its way in.  I realized after about a week or so that I was listening to this album – all of it – pretty relentlessly.  It was also supplying way more than its share of my daily dose of earworms.

Overall Second Coming is much more consistent than the first album; I find the songwriting to be more mature and confident, which I suppose is to be expected with the experience these guys bring to the table.  Even the slower tracks have a satisfying heaviness. “It Burns” is still not great, but it is easier to overlook now.  Lots of melody here, lots of thick guitar, and of course Atkins’ mighty sledgehammer vocals.  The standout tracks for sure are “Walk Me Through the Fire”, and “Because of Us”, both relentless hard-as-granite headbangers, and I have an inexplicable fondness for “The Final War”.  Ronnie Atkins’ Christianity is not a thing I have ever heard him say a single word about, but it is clearly evident given some of the songs that make their way onto Pretty Maids albums. This track is explicitly The Book of Revelation’s End of the World with a pounding beat, and to be quite honest if we are all to die in a conflagration of good versus evil (which these days does not seem so farfetched), it may as well be to a heavy metal soundtrack.

 

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