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Vintersorg - "Orkan" (CD)

Vintersorg - "Orkan" CD cover image

"Orkan" track listing:

1. Istid (5:51)
2. Ur stjärnstoft är vi komna (7:07)
3. Polarnatten (7:24)
4. Myren (5:03)
5. Orkan (5:14)
6. Havets nåd (6:38)
7. Norrskenssyner (6:08)
8. Urvädersfången (7:03)

Reviewed by on July 27, 2012

"As another outing for Vintersorg, 'Orkan' is a rousing success of folksy black metal with plenty of clean singing and melody, and as a companion to Borknagar’s 'Urd' album it makes a complete unit and keeps the music going longer."

Vintersorg has been just as prolific with his solo work (and in this case, “solo” means “including guitarist Mattias Marklund”) as with his main bands, as his project now reaches its eighth full-length album, “Orkan.” As usual, this one is another wild ride of folk-laced metal that uses a solid and unpredictable blend of harsh and clean vocals, straddling the line between ‘90s black metal and more modern styles.

Since Vintersorg is a project from the musician of the same name who also performs in Borknagar, and since Borknagar also just released a new album, it’s worth comparing the two releases. While not a carbon copy by any means, there are a good deal of similarities, and fans of “Urd” (reviewed here) will definitely like “Orkan.” Vintersorg’s output here is a little less avant-garde (the track “Myren” being the noticeable exception – using some smoky and psychedelic guitars, along with am extensive string-based intro) and slightly more focused on the symphonic elements.

These songs are fairly long, usually around six to seven minutes, but fill that space with plenty of sounds both dark and melodic. The title track itself is even fairly upbeat and almost, dare I say it, “fun.” There are loads of symphonic arrangements placed in both the background and foreground, but the album has a nearly equal focus on heavy guitars, so the disc has a satisfying balance between harsh and soothing, dark and light.

The production is just a touch on the muddy side, and that may be on purpose, perhaps as a tribute to the earlier days of the extreme metal scene or maybe just a pushing back against the hyper-produced modern albums that lack heart. While it doesn’t detract much from the album, there are some places where it has noticeable downsides. For instance, anyone who isn’t listening with headphones might completely miss the flute solo on “Istid.”

As another outing for Vintersorg, “Orkan” is a rousing success of folksy black metal with plenty of clean singing and melody. As a companion to Borknagar’s “Urd” album it makes a complete unit and keeps the music going longer. Devotees of either band’s discography won’t be disappointed with this one.

Highs: More successful folk-meets-black metal experiments from the long running Vintersorg project.

Lows: The production isn't crystal clear.

Bottom line: "Orkan" hits the right balance between symphonic folk elements and guitar-driven blackened metal.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)