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Windir's Best? - 100%

WilliamAcerfeltd, March 14th, 2007

I have all of Windir's albums (although I am yet to listen to Sóknardalr & Sogneriket) and out of what I've heard, this album is my favorite. Quite frankly I think this album is slightly underrated. In short this album is amazing. Valfar really was a masterful musician. If you like black metal, then you'll this.

All of Windir's album's take some time if you are going to like them as a whole. Sure, there are some songs which I liked first, e.g. "The Spiritlord" but others I thought were OK, nothing special. Had this been my first Windir album and I had only ever listened to the album once, I'd probably give this album an 80 and say that Windir are a bit overrated. So, if you're considering buying a Windir album, make sure you listen to it at least 5 times; otherwise you might not appreciate all they have to offer. Now after listening to this album about 10 times or so, I can fairly review this album.

This album is a standout Viking/black metal album. It has everything a black metal fan could possibly want: fast, heavy songs, good, intense riffing with very fast, technical drumming. Unlike other Windir albums though, this album has an easy listening intermission thrown somewhere in them, kind of like Opeth but instead of being 50% heavy 50% easy listening like Opeth, it generally ranges from about 10-30% easy listening and 70-90% heavy. The easy listening sections of the album give this a more graceful listen, nicer listen. However, don't get me wrong, this isn't the type of music you play when you're driving your granny around. As implied above, it is still quite heavy and aggressive, so in that regard, you will not be disappointed.

The vocal performance is quite good; Valfar can do great things with his voice. He can do the deeper death metal growl, to the high pitched, angry shrieks of black metal. In addition he can also do clean vocals, which is why I was surprised he got a guest musician in to do clean vocals. Due to the fact Cosmocrator sounds a lot like Valfar, sometimes it's very hard to tell who is doing clean vocals. I think Cosmocrator has slightly higher pitched vocals than Valfar if you really want to try and tell the difference.

I also think Valfar was a bit of a techno nut. In his previous album, Arntor you could tell there were techno elements in some of the songs such as "Kampen". Here there is a basically an entire song on this album which is a techno song "Journey to the End". However, don't get me wrong, this song is still good.

All these elements combined, give Windir a unique sound, after a few listens to a couple of Windir albums, you'll begin to notice they have a unique sound which most bands develop. It's quite hard to describe, however let me assure you, it is definitely a good sound.

This album doesn't put Windir's legacy to shame, it is a flawless piece of black metal. What is a shame though, is that Valfar died before while he was still in his creative prime. Maybe he did "Sell his soul for rock and roll" after all? Maybe you'd have to, to be this good at music. Who really knows? All I know is that this album is absolutely amazing.

Highlights: Everything