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Nordgeist – Frostwinter

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 20 April 2021, 2:35 PM

NORDGEIST is a black metal band/project from Russia, who formed in 2017.  In 2018, a split album was released and this year marks the debut of the first full length album, “Frostwinter.”  This is actually all done by a person named “T”. I would say the overall sound from “Frostwinter,” would fit firmly into the atmospheric black metal camp due to the keyboards.  The song lengths are certainly of that nature as well and the overall feel of the atmosphere is very cold and somber.

There are a lot of black metal bands I enjoy, many of which that are also one person projects.  Unfortunately, I could not get into this one quite as much as some of the others and I tried so hard with multiple listens. My biggest issue with this is the production.  The guitars are very, very loud and drown out every other element of the songs.  Despite this, the guitars also are very muddy—-I could not differentiate between many of the riffs across the different songs.  This is an album where every song runs together, which something like this NEEDS to be listened straight through anyway, but they all sound the same. The guitars are just one big wall of sound that sounds cluttered and messy. I’ve no doubt the guitar is well played, and I do get glimpses here and there especially with some of the more melodic moments, but I just can’t focus on it enough because of the album’s very sound.

The vocals are also an issue—because, again, they are drowned out by the guitars and can barely be heard to the point where this album might as well been an instrumental record.  The drums are well done, but again, I have to strain to here them like they need to be. I’ve heard worse production/mixing than this and what we have here might work for a different style band but for atmo black metal it all needs to be heard.

There are moments of genuine greatness to be found, however.  The keyboards on the opening track, “Зима (Winter)” are moving and I love how they create the ebb and flow of the song.  Around the song’s halfway point, the vocals do rise above the action and give some truly harrowing screams. Around the 9:50 mark on “Старый волк (The Old Wolf)”, the song slows down quite a bit and hits this sort of big wall of sound/drone type passage until it fades out to the song’s end.  It made me realize that when the music isn’t as fast pace, I find this album works better.

I also appreciated the vicious mood of “Возмездие (Revenge)”, although it doesn’t do anything different musically from the other tracks…it just has this very rage filled and arcane feel to it. I liked the guitar leads in the final track “Тоска (Sorrow)” because it helped the song break out of its production wall and it felt a little different than what came before. All in all, this isn’t a bad album but it just didn’t do a whole lot for me. Other black metal fans might feel differently and no doubt this album will have a lot of fans but it left me wanting more.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

1. Зима (Winter)
2. Старый волк (The Old Wolf)
3. Возмездие (Revenge)
4. Тоска (Sorrow)
T – All vocals, Instruments
Record Label: Kunsthall Produktionen


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