(Andy Synn wrote this review of the new album by Sweden’s Vintersorg.)
So it’s probably worth starting out this review by clearing something up. When Vintersorg (Andreas Hedlund and Mattias Marklund) announced that they were going to release an interlinked quartet of albums, each based on one of the four classical elements, I’m sure that a lot of you, like myself, initially expected each one to be quite different from the others, as befitting the divide between the elements themselves. Something akin to the way Thrice explored very different tonal and musical textures with The Alchemy Index I-IV, perhaps.
Well, we were wrong about that it seems. With the release of the first two albums, Jordpuls (“Pulse of the Earth”) and Orkan (“Hurricane”), which dealt with the elements of earth and air respectively, it became clear that the band’s core sound – a melding of archaic, folkish melody and blackened, progressive metal – remained enviably focussed and largely unchanged.
That’s not to say there weren’t differences between the two albums, of course. Jordpuls certainly possessed a certain earthy flavour and an ageless tone, while Orkan captured the flighty, intangible nature of the wind remarkably well with its ethereal song structures and skittering flutes. But, ultimately, neither was a major shift in style or sound for the band. And that’s ok. They weren’t meant to be.
Really, this whole experiment is more about filtering and refining the established Vintersorg sound in interesting, incremental ways, than it is about altering it wholesale. It’s about changing the little things, the small shifts in focus or delivery, adding a few deft touches and artful rearrangements here and there, all designed to re-envision the band through a different, elemental lens. Continue reading »