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Most diverse release to ever come out of Norway. - 93%

Reaper, October 18th, 2006

The compilation is a collection of the 3 demos put out by Isengard between 1989 and 1993. The first 7 tracks are the Vandreren demo, the next 5 are the Spectres over Gorgoroth demo and the last 4 are the Horizons demo. Each individual demo is different in itself and each individual song structurally varies from one another.

Vinterskugge is yet another album that further inflames my dreams of someday knowing Norwegian as it is filled with ample lyrical content. Isengard offers an album that has by far one of the highest numbers of different genres I’ve heard on one release.

The first song of the album focuses very much on a hypnotic approach by playing the same guitar riff repeatedly, whereas the subsequent song are led in different directions. Track two “Gjennom Skogen til Blåfjellene” varies by taking on a more ambient approach, whereas track three works with interludes of slower and faster progression that emphasize on the raspy black metal vocals; the Darkthrone sound is prevalent most on the third track. The sixth track alternatively approaches from a Folk Metal aspect. The first time Isengard sounds distinctly folk is on this and the next track, “Naglfar” which is also a highlight. The remaining tracks continue in similar fashion until track 8, which is the start of the very first Isengard Demo.

This is a brutal mix of black metal and death/doom metal that sounds like something Beherit’s album “Drawing Down the Moon” would sound like if sped up. The demo is basically a preparation to “A Soulside Journey” that would come out 2 years later and would sound like a polished version of this demo. The most appropriate description of this demo would involve the words raw and primitive. The songs are solid and offer variety to the overall compilation.

The tracks that follow compose the “Horizons” demo. The first track “The Fog (early 1991),” still displays lingering influences of death metal. The next track “Storm of Evil,” however, introduces Fenriz’s distinctive vocals, in English, with a dirty rock & roll influenced tone. The following track then changes it up to a drone doom metal sound, which left me speechless. I have not heard a musical range of this sort in a long time and this compilation is indeed a masterpiece due in part to the array of sounds that make up Isengard. “Horizons” is by far the most intriguing demo, and rightfully is the conclusion which leaves the listener captivated and repeatedly interested. The culmination “Our Lord Will Come,” could not have fit more perfectly. It has an old school doom metal feel to it and focuses on mesmerizing vocals that could be compared to King Diamond’s, when he sang on "King Diamond & Black Rose 20 Years Ago (A Night Of Rehearsal).”

Vinterskugge is a fascinating blend of sounds and is a hint of how much Darkthrone’s discography would vary throughout the years. The rating displays both the feeling towards the sound of each individual song & demo and the overall impression it leaves after you’re done listening to it. It is quite possibly the most diverse release to ever come out of Norway.