"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Feared - "Vinter" (CD)

Feared - "Vinter" CD cover image

"Vinter" track listing:

1. Sun Awake
2. Needle Effect
3. Your God
4. Hate is Everything
5. Mass Destruction
6. Erased
7. Huldra
8. Invidia
9. Mylingen
10. My Shadow World
11. Vinter

Reviewed by on January 16, 2014

"Overall, the album feels like a joyride through hell."

With their last album, "Furor Incarnatus" (reviewed here), Feared set a high bar to grab onto. Intent on continuing at that current ferocity, the band reached for and laid its hands on the bar once more with "Vinter," only readjusting the style slightly, so as to not seem static. The move didn't gain any ground, unfortunately, but shifted the band in a way which reveals the breadth of its writing skills.

The intentionally off-putting but compelling situational lyric viewpoints from the last album have vanished in favor of the tackling of issues such as drug use ("Needle Effect" and, arguably, "Erased"), religious criticism ("Your God"), self-deism ("My Shadow World"), mythological horror-fiction ("Huldra" and "Mylingen), and criticism of war-happy parties of power ("Mass Destruction"). However, one song ("Invidia") does tackle a first-person active perspective in dealing with envy and the unnatural consequence of envy pushed too far.

"Mylingen" is also genuinely creepy in that it refers to the phantasmal souls of dead children who haven't been buried properly, beings of Scandinavian folklore. What the lyrics don't outright tell you, but hint at, is that these beings chase down wanderers in the night, jump on their backs, and insist on being taken to a cemetery to be buried properly, all the while becoming heavier the closer they come to the cemetery. If the wanderer can't make it there, the being will just outright rage-kill him. If that doesn’t make for a metal song, something is wrong in the world.

Having not exhausted his most unique riffs on Six Feet Under or The Haunted, guitarist and main composer Ola Englund freed himself from the constraints of going purely death metal this time around and cooked up some interesting riffs. Opting for the more mid-tempo style, most of the songs on “Vinter” have more breathing room to them than the stranglehold that was “Furor Incarnatus.” In terms of feel, don’t be misled by the album cover: this is not a darker album, but a colder one for sure.

Kevin Talley’s drumming is still noteworthy as ever, along with bassist/vocalist Jocke Skog’s very audible tones. Vocalist Mario Ramos commands his instrument like few death metal vocalists do, his enunciation precise and clear. The title track takes the album to its end point in instrumental fashion, in the tradition of prior albums, and hijacks a riff from Opeth's "In My Time of Need" to re-purpose it nicely. Overall, the album feels like a joyride through hell.

Highs: "Mylingen" and "Mass Destruction"

Lows: This feels less unique than previous albums and the kick drum tends to dominate the mix.

Bottom line: Playfully cold death metal that gives no quarter.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Reviewed by on January 16, 2014

"Consistently frantic and energetic, the album’s 11 tracks very rarely let up on the brutality pedal, keeping it consistently floored for a solid 40 minutes."

The fifth full-length from Sweden’s Feared, “Vinter” showcases a band that has refined its sound to a pure form that nearly renders sub-genre tags meaningless. Consistently frantic and energetic, the album’s 11 tracks very rarely let up on the brutality pedal, keeping it consistently floored for a solid 40 minutes.

“Vinter” takes all the best parts of metal - the fast paced guitars, booming drums, deep vocals, and so on - and cuts out most everything else. It’s not even clear where these tracks should end up on the metal genre spectrum. While vocally the release is on the death metal end, it doesn’t neatly fit in to a category like “melodic,” “technical,” or “old school.”

Dubbing the album deathcore wouldn’t be accurate, but there are some big hardcore influences to be found. Likewise, there are parts that clearly draw heavily on thrash, but “Vinter” isn’t a straight thrash album by any means. Overall, this is just simply “metal,” and damn good metal at that.

Aside from the opening intro of “Sun Awake,” the only major change ups in sound occur with “Erased,” which throws in an atmospheric piano interlude, and then the ending title track. After all the relentless heaviness, the closing instrumental track decides to bring out ethereal keyboards for the first half, then marry melody with technicality for a prog/power leaning experience on the second half.

While there are times when the album could use more melodic change ups or shifts in direction, as a whole it holds up extremely well by sticking to one primary mode of operation and chugging along for all its worth. Feared’s latest is easily an album worth checking out no matter what style of metal you prefer.

Highs: A pure melding of all that is metal!

Lows: Although great overall, a little more variety in the album wouldn't have hurt.

Bottom line: Feared smoothly combines death, thrash, hardcore and more into one pure expression of straight-up metal awesome.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)