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Seidr - "For Winter Fire" (CD)

Seidr - "For Winter Fire" CD cover image

"For Winter Fire" track listing:

1. A Vision From Hlidskjalf (11:26)
2. On The Shoulders Of The Gods (11:51)
3. Sweltering (11:23)
4. In The Ashes (4:43)
5. The Night Sky And The Wild Hun (9:26)
6. A Gaze At The Stars (10:30)
7. Stream Keeper (14:21)

Reviewed by on June 13, 2011

"This is non-conformist, straight-laced doom performed by musicians who know how to write a song that can be ten-plus minutes and still sound entertaining."

Seidr is a doom metal band that doesn’t like to rush themselves. Five of the seven songs on their debut “For Winter Fire” are over the ten-minute mark, including the first three tracks. The band works the atmosphere like pros, letting the earthly tones seep through and give the music character. This alone makes “For Winter Fire” stand out from the herd, though the band’s tendency to ramble hurts them on multiple occasions in the second half. A few flaws are not enough to overwhelm the majestic nature of the material.

There is no easing into “For Winter Fire,” as opener “A Vision From Hlidskjalf” takes up eleven minutes outright. After starting like the soundtrack to a lost western flick from the ‘60s, the meticulous doom style rears its presence. The band feels no need to pick the tempo up. The only time the pace changes is for a dynamic clean passage reeking of a post-rock mentality. It all wraps back together near the end for a dark, energetic start to the record.

The band splits up the album, with a folky acoustic number dead in the center. “In The Ashes” is a departure for Seidr, a constricted performance built on the foundation of lifeless clean vocals and tuneful acoustics. Stripped-down and raw, “In The Ashes” seems like it was taken from a different album; however, it’s a wise choice when relating to the way the record flows as a whole. The track is a little too drawn-out, like some of the later songs, but it acts as an interlude from the hefty riffs and painful screams.

While the band prefers to stay in their heavy shell, a few spots of melodic reverence peek through. “The Night Sky and the Wild Hun” is given a Middle Eastern flavor with a sitar-driven section, which doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. The monstrous “Stream Keeper” has the best build-up on the entire album, maintaining the momentum of a tortoise before erupting in a sea of despair. A bountiful piano/strings outro seals the deal.

With lengths like this, there is an increased chance of slipping into irrelevance. “A Gaze At The Stars” blazes a trail that goes nowhere fast. The song seems to have a direction that it can’t control, or an aimless sonic blueprint. Even a spat of clean vocals can’t save the song from being a boring mess. The feedback intro to “On The Shoulders Of The Gods” goes on twice as long as it should, taking up a third of the track. Feedback in spurts is fine in accentuating a mood, but having this much in one area of the album spells trouble for Seidr.

"For Winter Fire” is a pleasant sight for those that want doom metal without any death/black elements. This is non-conformist, straight-laced doom performed by musicians who know how to write a song that can be ten-plus minutes and still sound entertaining. While only seven tracks are present, there is enough on here to take days to understand. There are a few stumbles that can’t be ignored, but the band pushes through them with a roaring vengeance too hard to avoid.

Highs: Dynamic for a doom album, the folky "In The Ashes," great finish to "Stream Keeper"

Lows: "A Gaze At The Stars" goes nowhere fast, a few clunky sections in the second half

Bottom line: A passionate doom metal debut epic in scope and full of dynamic twists.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)