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Windir was a one-man project by Terje "Valfar" Bakken, which had been going on since 1994, when he was 15-16 years old. This is the second full length album put out by him with session drummer, who in the future would become a full member, Steingrim and additional clean vocals by Steinarson.
This album will take you back in time, back to snowy Norway years ago, when I'm listening to this album I feel like I am in the past, living in a cabin, taking walks in the big mountains, walking into the deep forests and visiting the local village. The atmosphere here is really great and folky despite Valfars lack of traditional instruments used in the music. Accordion is used in the instrumental introduction, "Byrjing". The atmosphere of the song invites you to the journey the album "Arntor" really is. Some decent drumming is also used in the song along some synths.
"Arntor, ein Windir" then kicks in with some really awesome guitar tune, the riff is in high notes, and are in general the key to the folk melodies on the album, now when I said that there was a lack of traditional instruments used. The vocals here are pretty harsh, and they do not change much during the album except for the "Yeeeha" high notes used by Valfar in "Arntor, ein Windir". It is apparently something traditional to sing in the Sogndal area, so do not get confused with cowboys. Clean vocals are used here already by Steinarson and are well used during the album, they are choired a bit and pretty folky, they can become more sad though, there is an example of that in this second song even, when the music changes into something that sounds pretty tragic, synths also kicks in here along acoustic guitar part creating an even thicker atmosphere.
The lyrics are in Sognamål, which is a Norwegian dialect that is pretty different compared to the usual Bokmål spoken in Norway. And the lyrics are mostly old tales from the Sogndal area, the lyrics along the melodic guitar sounds also made the base sound of the genre "Sognametal" that Valfar called his own music (other bands from the area have taken inspiration after Valfars death, Cor Scorpii, Sigtyr, Feigd and Mistur are examples of that).
The guitar work on this album is really really good, riffing is usually in high notes and again folky in their melody, they manage to create the atmosphere, if it's walking in the village or walking in the harsh winter of Norway nearing death, that is how tragic the riffing can go even. "Svartesmeden og Lundamyrstrollet" is an example of that. The use of synths also really makes the music beautiful but also sad even, because it is so damn epic ("Saknet" is a good example of that) but the fact that Valfar died may also play a role when listening to his great music. For me, it feels sometimes that I am in his shoes listening to this.
The songs "Ending" and "Kampen" are more blackish, the riffing is not in a high note and the synths are also pretty gloomy sounding. I don't have much more to say about this album other than if you are into folk/viking metal this album should not be missed, it is really epic.