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"Vinterriket / Northaunt Split CD" (CD/EP)

Northaunt - "Vinterriket / Northaunt Split CD" CD/EP cover image

"Vinterriket / Northaunt Split CD" track listing:

01. Vinterriket - Landschaften Ewiger Einsamkeit IX
02. Northaunt - Until Dawn Do Us Part
03. Vinterriket - Am Brennenden Nordlichen Firmament
04. Northaunt - Shadows Over The Barren Land
05. Vinterriket - Landschaften Ewiger Einsamkeit VII
06. Northaunt - Ode
07. Vinterriket - Einsamkeit VIII

Reviewed by on May 23, 2006

"Vinterriket create a feeling that most atmospheric black metal bands only dream of"

This is the second split release between German avant garde black metallers Vinterriket and dark ambient Norwegians Northaunt. Consisting of four tracks by the German one-piece (every odd number) and 3 by the Norse, this is a very well thought out split CD, as both bands perfectly complement each other. Using mainly keyboards, very few spoken vocals and various nature sounds they deliver a 62-minute journey of bleak despair. With the very first notes you're submerged into an absorbing and asphyxiating melancholy. Imagine a vast, desolate field and its enchanting but cold beauty - this is the prevailing feeling of the album.

Vinterriket create a feeling that most atmospheric black metal bands only dream of. But don't be fooled by me using "black metal"- you won't find any screeching here, in fact vocals are absent from all 4 Vinterriket compositons. In no means does this create a monotonous or boring material though. The first track, "Landschafen Ewiger Einsamkeit IX" offers a dark but soothing visual of falling rain. "Am Brennenden Nordlichen Firmament" is embellished with more creative keyboard sounds (like piano and organs), very melodic in contrast with the rest of the album. Northaunt's track "Shadows Over The Barren Land" stands out - unlike the other songs, it has some vocals in the background… of a woman whose sobbing is gradually stifled by a man's menacing screams. "Ode" is the most minimalist compositon on the album but still eerie as hell. Overall, this split is very slow and contians moving passages that engulf your soul in dark feelings. Words of praise go out to the artwork too, it definitely contributes to the gloomy feeling of this release.

Highs: Even though both bands’ unique styles can be recognized, the whole album flows seamlessly. They both worked on the same theme so it’s more like a cooperation than a split

Lows: Composition-wise, Northaunt’s material is more varied that Vinterriket’s

Bottom line: Ambient fans should already be familiar with these two bands but for those wishing to explore the dark realm of atmospheric art, this is easily one of the best releases ever

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)