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Vintersorg - Orkan Award winner

by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 23 July 2012, 2:18 PM

The last time I listened to any of VINTERSORG's material it was right after the second album was released. I had the chance to experience the wonderful music the surged between the fine elements of Folk Metal along with the harsher attributes of Norwegian oriented Black Metal in its late 90s form. However, right I after I scouted the new BORKNAGAR album,"Urd", via Century Media where Vintersorg's performance at the vocal end was masterful, I knew I have to get re-acquainted with Vintersorg's works as a solo artist. "Orkan", released via Napalm Records is another addition to the ever growing discography of the Viking that has been keeping the same pattern of presenting the cosmic aura around us while empowered by the ancient Viking gods of Valhalla. With "Orkan" Vintersorg kept the same form as on BORKNAGAR but this time, just as it was with his last solo albums, the compositions were in Swedish. As I always say, the music is the one doing the talking for everyone that feels that his or her Swedish language is weak.

In comparison to the earlier albums of VINTERSORG, “Orkan” feels more divergent and intelligent. Probably because unlike the past releases, while I have to imply that I really don’t know what came in the middle as I haven’t listened to the material that came after the second album, Vintersorg put more weight in favor of the progression of the music. What came to me as similar to the precedent endeavors were the Black Metal signatures and how those integrated perfectly with the music. It felt as if Vintersorg, no matter the infusion of robust Folk music, wrapped by flutes, violins and keyboards and articulate Progressive Metal into his compositions, didn’t forget to mention from where he came from and that is the outskirts of Black Metal, both in its modern and raw form of the early 90s with Norwegian origins. He is a terrific growler and one of the best in the Blackish kind, along with being a wonderful clean vocalist while passionately singing the verses of forlorn. Although some would probably prefer to discern the unnatural instruments such as the programming of the drums apart from the real instruments that were played and recorded, it really didn’t negatively affect anything in my perception of the album. Many artists, even some of the veteran ones used here and there with programmed drums, so no harm no foul. The programming, which Vintersorg was in charge to create and manipulate, most of the time didn’t feel as if those were not crafted by a human hand, therefore playing its part effectively. As for the rest of the music, which laid upon the hands of both Vintersorg and Mattias Marklund, I couldn’t complain even for a minute. Even though the harsher verses sounded like a stormy blizzard in a cold winter, the overall sensation was blissful and catchy I might add.

The frozen Scandinavian winter flakes of “Istid” (Ice Age) punched a hole in the wood reserved for heat with a galloping kind of rhythm that resembled a pack of angry horses, or maybe angry Vikings while a demon from the lower ends of the frost screams for attention. I must say that this one came to be as a pretty intense opening to a cold world. The utter flowing and interesting “Polarnatten” (Polar Night) presented Vintersorg’s greatest work on the album and it reminded me the several of the newer works of BORKNAGAR. This one made me think why it wasn’t taken into account while forming the listing for the latest BORKNAGAR album. “Orkan” (Hurricane) sounded as a reminiscent of later AMORPHIS material. Well it is not that hard as both artists have been inspired by the wintriness of their environment. On the other hand several of the Keyboard melodies were pretty close to the Finnish extreme Folk masters, especially in the lead guitar work and the haunting chorus. In general, this whole album sounded like a story while Vintersorg’s clean vocals took the role of the narrator of a whole conceptual tale as a reprise for an ancient legend in a different version. I advise you to run after this album, Napalm Records is waiting for you to purchase it. 

4 Star Rating

1. Istid (Ice Age)
2. Ur stjärnstoft är vi komna (From Stardust We Came)
3. Polarnatten (Polar Night)
4. Myren
5. Orkan (Hurricane)
6. Havets nåd (Sea Of Grace)
7. Norrskenssyner (Northern Light Visions)
8. Urvädersfången 
Vintersorg- Vocals, Programming, Bass
Mattias Marklund- Guitars
Record Label: Napalm Records


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