Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Vintersorg - Naturbål

A new Vintersorg album is always an event to me. I've been a huge fan of everything Andreas Hedlund ever since I first heard Cosmic Genesis back in '02. Mr. V. and company have made some of the most beautiful folk metal the genre has to offer. In the early 2000s, Vintersorg tried a more progressive approached that alienated some fans but I hung on because there was still huge amounts of magic in those works. 2007's Solens Rötter saw the band return to it's roots somewhat as the prog elements were toned down and some of the folk returned. Each subsequent album edged closer and closer to a modern version of the sound created on Cosmic Genesis.

So now we have Vintersorg's ninth full length, Naturbål, translated to mean Natures Bonfire. Once again we see that Mr. V. and Mattias Marklund (The Vintersorgs) have created an album that can stand along side his most beloved first two albums. There are plenty of the black metal elements still present in the music as there are blast beats and tremolo riffing along with Vintersorg's signature black metal rasp. What is also present here is the mesmerizing melodies and incredible songwriting that you come to expect from this band. This era of Vintersorg that has risen after The Focusing Blur has been the most consistent as they have slowly solidified their sound to downplay the prog and just play an epic melodic folk black metal hybrid that is reminiscent of Borknagar, for obvious reasons. But the hints of Comsic Genesis are also there. The production is cleaner and crisper with the keyboards and orchestrations being more refined to give the sound of this album so much more depth than the earlier albums that this will be compared to.

Also present are the epic elements that are in each of Vintersorg's songs. The album opener, "Ur aska och sot," begins with some serious riffs and blast beats along with Mr. V.'s vicious rasps. Then the melodies appear but the riffs are not sacrificed. This album has some interesting and down right killer riffs that help the melodies flow. The song has a lot of elements to it's seven minute song length creating the epic feel along with those beautiful melodies. The song has some female vocals provided by Helena Sofia Lidman and she actually compliments the song perfectly. The lyrics are all in Swedish and lately the themes have been about the destructive forces of nature, first with Orkan (Hurricane) and the forces of weather. It appears that with this album Mr. V. touches on fire but not from man but from nature. "En blixt från klar himmel" translates to "A Bolt from the Blue" and begins with the sound of thunder. This song is just perfect, there is no other way to describe it. The melodies are spellbinding and this is one of the best songs Mr. V. has written in a while

"Lågornas rov," which was the first video released is a monster of an epic song. Here we see every component that Vintersorg has ever placed in his music in one song. We have aggression, melody, and even a touch of prog. As with most of their catalog, the choruses on this album are just incredible and powerful. "Rymdens brinnande öar" is a perfect example of those choruses I mentioned. With female vocals provided by Frida Eurenius and the melodies over the riffs and acoustic guitars this chorus is simply amazing. Then we have "Urdarmåne" which is simply an amazing and indescribable song that has beauty, aggression and awe inspiring melodies. This song is the longest song on the album but given the sheer epic sound present here the song is not even close to being too long or played out. Instead we have these powerful emotions coming from this song creating a song that not just for listening but should be experienced. Yeah, it's that good.

Every Vintersorg album has it's own magic and personality. Even The Focusing Blur with some it's incoherence had this magic about it that I can't seem to explain. But this new album has a magic all it's own making this the best album he has done since Cosmic Genesis. Every song just makes you feel as if you are part of that song. The artistry here in the songwriting and the execution is beyond amazing. If you are a Vintersorg fan then you will get this album. If you were a Vintersorg fan but was put off by the proggy incoherent era, you need to pick this up. Your faith in Mr. V. will be restored.



Shankao said...

Great review for a great album!!

And I must say I don't find any incoherence on "The Focusing Blur" :)

The Elitist Metalhead said...

I think it was the fact that it was a lot more progressive and all over the place. I loved it but some thought it was too proggy.

Thanks for the kind words about the review for the new album. His albums have been steadily consistent since "returning" to the Cosmic Genesis sound.