Saturday, May 24, 2014

Vinterbris - Solace

Norway's Vinterbris is a band tagged as melodic black metal but there seems to be so much more to this band. Active since 2008, this quartet from Bergen released an EP in 2010 and their full length debut in 2011. My first exposure to this band was with their upcoming second full length album entitled Solace. To say that this is just a melodic black metal release is really not doing this band any justice. If I were to describe them I would say that they play epic melodic black metal but with many other dimensions to include progressive, folk, melo-death, and traditional metal. All these elements combined with the epic music they create to make this band one of the most unique bands I've ever listened to.

The sounds on this album flow between acoustic parts to tremolo riffs over blast beats to traditional metal riffing with some progressive elements as well. For instance, the album opener, "Dysphoria," starts off with a beautiful acoustic guitar with some atmospheric sounding guitars added in almost reminding me of Opeth in a way. The main riff is tremolo with blast beats. Then it goes to a more progressive sound back over to the acoustic guitars again. The vocals are a typical black metal vocals that suit the music perfectly. They add some lower growls here and there but for the most part just black metal shrieks. Adding all these elements into the song this band is capable of taking a three and half minute song into epic territory leaving you wanting more when it seems to end rather abruptly. All the dimensions that make up this band makes it hard to actually describe the music going on here. Amazing could be one word.

The album only gets better as we go along with "Ash Alight" combining blasting tremolos and progressive elements adding so much atmosphere to the song. Midway through there is a solo that even takes this song to another level. This is a band that takes you on a musical journey rather than just play you a song. They play with so much emotion that you can actually feel their music. Every song being a particular part of the journey. "Fathoms" reminds me of Dissection in places as they manage to take the song in so many directions. The acoustic part in the middle adds beauty and passion. Sometimes a band like this can try too hard and wind up overreaching but this is not the case here. They execute their brand of metal flawlessly.  But then you have a song like "Gazing at a Fallen Sky" that just relies on being a riff heavy rocker with only touches of the epic atmosphere in the solo. The solos on this album are incredible as their not wank fests but instead add beauty and melody into these songs.
This is a rather short album with six songs coming in just shy of thirty-six minutes but they manage to use that time very wisely. The song times very but most are between six and eight minutes long. The production is nice and clean so that all instruments come through in a perfect mix. The drums can sometimes overpower during the blast beats but for the most part this is a perfect mix. One of the highlights of this album is the eight minute opus, "The Aurora of Despair."  This song is just about as epic as it can get starting out with electric and acoustic guitars creating this beautiful atmosphere leading to a main riff that is just infectious. The vocals almost feel as if they are narrating a story. The song has so much depth and feeling. The solo is absolutely amazing adding so much more melody and atmosphere to the song. Another highlight is the closer, "Euphoria." This song has so many dimensions and layers but the execution is amazing. The beginning has some folk elements added in with the acoustic guitars coming in just under the the electric guitars in some areas adding yet another layer to an already epic song.

To me, it doesn't get any better than this. This is a band of supremely talented musicians that write songs full of epic beauty and musical landscapes. Each time I listen to this album I hear another layer...another dimension that I didn't seem to hear previously. This is already one of my favorite albums and one that is a leading contender for album of the year. Every song, every note put together perfectly to create a masterpiece. I truly can not find one flaw with this album. I'm already anticipating what will come next for this talented young band.

Special thanks to Joel Costa and Nordavind Records for the digital promo.


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