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Unfortunately I learned about the existence of Windir only recently, after Valfar had passed away. I am glad I checked out this band though. I have been quite disappointed about a lot of the typical folk metal outings of these days, and with bands like Borknagar and Vintersorg either changing their sound completely or releasing mediocre albums, Windir is great for your weekly folk metal fix.
The album starts out with catchy keyboard melodies, which are shortly joined by the very unique harsh black metallish vocals of Valfar. The melodies are based around folk scales but will not make you think it’s just another band playing traditional folk tunes on guitar. They are unique structures only inspired by the folk music of Scandinavia. Catchy as hell they are though. Your neck will definitely be a-rocking in a pleasant manner to this, as it is still undeniably metal.
The riffs on this album seem to be more technical than on the previous releases, and this adds a certain intensity to the music. There are no ultra-wank solos and pointless single instrument wankery either, the technicality supports the music as its separate aesthetic here. The drums are not the focal instrument on this album, mostly just supporting the music, with very minimal fills. The vocals range from the harsher vocals to the well-known, sometimes over-dramatic “Viking” vocals, somewhat reminiscent of Vintersorg’s tone. The intertwining of the clean and harsh vocals is seamless however, and both work together very well, trading off lines in quick succession to create a nice organized chaos. This album has very well-constructed songs. The softer interludes are really just that, in-terludes, that don’t distract from the neckbreaking feel of the rest of the album, which is what it thrives on.
Describing every song separately is not quite necessary, as the whole album flows to-gether in a similar feel, and does not slow down or lose your attention, unless you are easily disgusted by short keyboard moodsetters. If I were forced to choose some great songs on this album I would say I enjoy Todeswalzer, The Spiritlord and the 8 minute plus all-metal Heidra.