Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Vintersorg - Naturbål

One of the unsung heroes of the genre, Vintersorg have been defining, and redefining folk metal again and again over the course of their career. Formed in 1994 they've been around considerably longer than many of the more well known folk metal acts, however they seem to be relatively unknown by many fans of the genre today. With the release of "Naturbål" these Swedes have proven yet again what an oversight this is.

Coming as the latest in a series of albums from the band based around the four elements, the album is centered around fire. Ironically the overall feeling of the album is very cold and wintery, due in no short part to the appearance of several great Norwegian Black Metal style riffs reminiscent of Taake or Carpathian Forest which bring to mind images of snow strewn forests and blizzards. The album does however have the blaze and fury to match its subject matter, with songs like "Ur Aska Och Sot" and "Elddraken" capturing the central theme perfectly with blast beats, fast riffs, and harsh vocals conjuring up a musical firestorm.

One of the key features of the album, and the band as a whole for that matter, is vocal work of Andreas Hedlund. While his songwriting and multi-instrumental input on the album is stellar, his clean vocals are truly unique, sounding like no one else in heavy metal. In a saturated genre like Folk Metal this is an important feature if you want to stand out from the crowd, and stand out they do. The bands most comparable to Vintersorg would probably be Moonsorrow and Amorphis, but even these comparisons fall short of truly capturing the band's singular and  captivating sound. The instrumental work on the album is also superb, with memorable and effective riffs, and each instrument aiding the other to create the right sound to represent the musical ideas the band is trying to create.

If you're a fan of black metal, folk metal, progressive metal, or hell just metal in general, do yourself a favour and check this album and for that matter this band out. It's a musical journey likely to be unlike any you've taken before and will definitely not regret.
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