CD REVIEW Vintersorg

Band: Vintersorg
Title: Orkan
Label: Napalm Records
Distribution: Rough Trade Benelux – Tone Entertainment
Release date: June 29th 2012
Review: CD

Vintersorg is 1) the self-called project of a Swedish musician who calls himself Vintersorg, and 2) the artist name of Andreas Hedlund. Andreas is, as mentioned, the main person behind his self-called band, yet he is known as well from bands and projects like Otyg, Borknagar, Fission, Cronian, Cosmic Rain / Cosmic Death, Havayoth etc. His self-called project was originally formed as Vargatron, if I’m not mistaken, and as from the second part of the nineties, it gets considered as one of Sweden’s main bands within the Folk-oriented Extreme Metal-scene. ‘Extreme Metal’ means: Viking-Black-infused Metal, by the way. Throughout the years, Andreas added many progressive elements in Vintersorg’s music. This time, however, the album slightly goes back to the roots, focussing again on folksy basics, still with a modern / progressive approach. And at the same time it is, again, a new step forward. He’s still working with Otyg-colleague and guitar player Mattias Marklund (this collaboration goes back to the end of the nineties). 2011’s Jordpuls was a first going-back-to-the-early-years, and it’s in the vein of this album one can label Orkan into. Jordpuls and Orkan, by the way, are the first parts of some quadrilogy, dealing with the four elements, and representing respectively ‘earth’ and ‘air’, if I’m not mistaken.

The eight songs, varying in between five and seven minutes (total running time: fifty minutes), combine different angles. There are the epic, folkloristic and traditional parts at the one hand, some melodic, rhythmic ones as well, Rock-infused influences (like certain synths or guitar solos), the Viking-Black Metal pieces, and slightly experimental Post-oriented, Progressive elements. These things do appear in a separated form, as well as in combination with each other. And believe me, it took years to reach this level for sure. I have to admit: I don’t get aroused by Vintersorg’s 2000’s era (the most Prog-oriented one; the nineties were more traditional), and Jordpuls left me unsatisfied and confused. This album is a huge step forward. Not only the balance in between ‘old’ and ‘new’ seems to fit. The average quality (read: song writing, and in consequence the song structures and performance) is more than I could / would expect. The variation is much better structured and proportioned than ever before, and at the same time this album sounds trusted, comfortable, relaxed (the latter does not mean: too soft). One still cannot deny the progressive elements, yet in comparison to Vintersorg’s former decade of raison d’être, it’s less avant-garde, less Post-experimental. The progressive elements are better proportioned as well this time, lacking of exaggeration or eccentrics, yet rather accessible without being ‘easy’ in approach. No, this album isn’t an easy one either, yet in spite of a duration of more than fifty minutes, I think it’s the most savoury in years, and maybe the most enjoyable ever.

Remarkable fact: normally I am not such a proponent of ‘catchiness’, but this time the variety is catchy yet, at the same time, so devised. (this also goes for the melodic vocals: normally ‘no’, this time ‘thumbs up’)

78/100

Ivan Tibos.