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Windir is a band that was created by Sognadal native Terje “Valfar” Bakken, a young man that played multiple musical instruments (guitar, piano, and accordion to name a few) and loved the timeless art of metal. He created Windir to play Black Metal that was heavily influenced by his pride in local folk music. Valfar also had pride in his local culture and language; lyrics from his first two albums are all about Sognadal’s (Valfar’s hometown) local history and sung in Sognamål, or a Norwegian dialect that is spoken in Sognadal. Through out his musical career he created a total of four LPs (His first two being completely played and compiled by himself) until his untimely death on January 14, 2004. The stranded band members (all from the now defunct Ulcus) ended Windir’s legacy with Valfar releasing one more album (Valfar, ein Windir) in tribute to the band’s fallen leader.
Arntor, the sophomore release of Windir (Valfar’s last solo album) and is in my opinion the perfect album. Why do I say this? The imagery Valfar makes in each song is spectacular, the craftsmanship of the instruments played is superb and every song on this album has identity.
From the intro of Byrjing to Arntor, ein Windir and ending at (you guessed it!) Ending, every song is a fresh breath of breath air that never gets stale. The guitars on this album are superb; actually superb doesn’t begin to explain how good the guitars are. They have the distortion of black metal but the riffs are all pure Norwegian folk. The strings echo a hollowed dream of a marriage between Metal and Folk, a dream that bands previous to Windir only began to perfect. The synths (also superb) add a folk element that creates an atmosphere of Norway; an image that makes you feel like you are walking through the forests, climbing the steep mountains, or sailing in the deep fjords of the North Land. All combined creates a haunting memory of an age where long ships and swords were still in wide use, and men were judged by their honor.
If you are a fan of metal: THIS IS A MUST BUY! Especially if you enjoy Black Metal or you are a fan of bands like Ensiferum, Thyrfing, Finntroll, or Falkenbach. This album is so good that I can’t pick a favorite song; I can only see Arntor as a whole.
This album is paramount to any collection!