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Valfar the Great - 100%

SirMichaelJ, January 19th, 2007

Valfar (RIP) was a young man when he died, only 25. That was in 2004. This album was written and released in 1999, making Terje "Valfar" Bakken only 19.

Take into account his age, the fact he wrote all this himself, produced this all himself, did EVERYTHING by himself, AT AGE 19! This album is the work of genius, if by some strange twist of fate you liked Viking/Black/Folk and you've never heard of Windir, and so happen to stumble across this album, you would think it was done by a veteren in the game. What Windir really accomplishes is a sense of atmosphere. This atmosphere is apparent right from the opening track. A instrumental harkening back to the old country, a steady accordian with a folk tune. With this however you don't know what to expect. Once the second track hit you immediately feel the folk and viking energy again, yet the drums get amped up with double bass and blast beats in an instant creating this beautiful, yet crushing soundscape. The riffs throughout the entire album stay folkish, sometimes teetering on the black metal style riffing, although there is no sense of thrash here.

Some of the more notable tracks, if one can narrow such thing down would have to be Svartesmeden Og Lundamyrstrollet, and Saknet.

Both of these songs clock in over 9 minutes. Both have multiple sections and different choruses to help carry the music as to not bore you. Its almost progressive by definition, but without the progressive sound. Windir can change the pace and sound perfectly and illustrates that in these two songs. Saknet in particular speak volumes of the artistic vision of Valfar. From the opening riff and bblast beat this song has a sense of epicness and granduer many Viking and Folk acts fail to create. As soon as the screechy vocals of Valfars amazing vocals hit the song is in a state of perfection. You find yourself nodding, tapping, whatever you can do to keep pace. The song really takes a chilling downtempo at the around the 6:20 mark, where haunting keys and bass kick in. A choir (This choir is amazing, best in any folk or viking act Ive ever heard), and it agains fades at the 7:30 mark to take you for a minute of the most emotional filled music to touch these ears. This solo was beautifully written and performed by Windir. The last minute or so brings it back to where you first were in the begining but this time with the haunting melody present in the middle of the song. The song closes out eventually with just this melody. Sheer genius.

One tihng I neglected to mention was the vocals and lyrical theme. I did mention the vocals once, but that doe not give them justice since there's a lot of choir and different vocal approaches taken here. Valfar outdoes himself in this reguard. My favorite thing about this album, music aside is lyrical content. With all the whiney little teens out there today, Valfar did something that meant a lot to him and his countrymen. Singing about his countries folklore and history, in a lost native language. This I can respect. Even within metal most sing about gore, satan and all that crap. But Windirs lyrical content stays coarse.

If you have the oppertunity to buy this album or listen to it, its a must. It's one of the best from the genre, and in many peoples eyes one of the best ever.