Rise Of The Northstar - Welcame (Cover Artwork)

Rise Of The Northstar

Welcame (2014)

Nuclear Blast

Late 2014 saw the debut proper of French Dragonball-Z worshipping mosh merchants Rise Of The Northstar with Welcame. After two promising, self-released eps, Nuclear Blast picked them up and put this out. In theory, this shouldn’t work but it also makes perfect sense. French band, singing about Japanese pop culture in English with Japanese subtitled videos. It’s actually pretty damn cool without being ironic. It’s a perfect marriage of 2 art forms that are seen as being outlets for the somewhat outcast, comics & hardcore. If the Manga subject matter wasn’t enough, they have so immersed themselves in the Japanese culture that they have taken to wearing gakurans, A Japanese style school uniform. Other than that and the lead guitarist wearing a surgical mask, that’s about where the gimmicks end.

Straight off the bat you can tell they are not quite your average 2-Step mosh-core collective, although there is plenty of that throughout.

Welcame opens with “What The Fuck”, a song that starts off with a guitar lick (and tone) that Jeff Waters would’ve been pumped on basically any Annihilator albums. Not overstaying it’s welcome the track quickly evolves into a blast beat driven anger-fest that implores motherfuckers to “get the fuck up”. Sure it’s semi “Korny” but it somehow works without sounding contrived. Maybe they just don’t have irony in France. Either way, my interest was piqued.

The first single and, in my opinion best song on the album is the albums namesake “Welcame” , which is a mix of Hatebreed, Cyrpess Hill and Suicidal Tendencies. The solo on this song is fantastic. In fact the playing on the entire album is above average. A fun fact is Hokuto No Kev, the drummer, is blind in one eye. He hasn’t let that stop him and nor should it. If the drummer in Def Leppard can get away with having one arm, having vision in only one eye doesn’t seem like such a big obstacle to overcome, drumming-wise.

The album rolls on in a similar vein, with plenty of 2-Step parts, breakdowns, crisp guitar solos and Japanese pop-culture references, so there’s no point in dissecting the album song by song.

It’s produced by Zeuss, who’s worked with Agnostic Front, Earth Crisis, Hatebreed and plenty more of ROTNS abundantly clear
influences, and the production is as clean as you would expect.

If you are expecting a groundbreaking, genre-defining release, this is most certainly not it. If you are a fan of all things heavy and want something with a bit of a different spin on what you can bang your head to, then this might be your bag.