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A good album, but not typical of the genre! - 85%

PowerMetalGuardian, July 22nd, 2007

I was excited to get this Vintersorg album because I have never heard this band before. After listening to it for awhile, I have enjoyed the album, but have become slightly confused. I did some research on Vintersorg and saw they are viking/folk metal, two genres I have been on a kick for in the last year or two. I hardly see how this is viking metal though. None of the lyrics talk about Vikings or Norse mythology. Instead the album seems to deal with space and astronomy, indeed under the notes on this album; thanks are given to Carl Sagan, an astronomer and astrobiologist. Now it does have a heavy folk sound, but I will describe this later on.

The album starts out with a pretty cool symphonic intro and after awhile the drums blast in with a fast tempo with a cool guitar melody. And then – as you get built up – you are let down. I was expecting these crushing death metal growls, but instead a normal singer. Now there are death metal like growls, but they are sporadic in the album. The normal singing is more of the mainstream of this album. I guess when I think viking metal, then I think of Moonsorrow or Wintersun, but this is so far from it.

The normal vocals are performed in a very low octave. In a lot of ways it reminds me of Mathias Blad, though not an exact replica. The occasional death metal singing is present, and for me at least very effective. The guitar riffs are wonderfully done on this album. They carry the usual melodic folk influence that you would see in bands like Skyclad and Falconer. In fact most of the guitar riffs on the song Ars Memorativa almost sound exactly like Falconer…I thought I had the wrong disc in!

The keyboards I really wrestle with. Sometimes they add nothing to the song, and actually bring down the quality of the song. For example, the keys on Algol are horrible. He uses a church organ sound and it does not clash with the guitars at all. In contrast, like on the song A Dialog with the Stars, the keys are the backbone of the song. Without the keys the song would fall apart. So the keys on this album are very hit and miss.

Overall I enjoyed this album, I guess at first it was a shock because I did not expect this to be what it is. Imagine guitar work and singing like Falconer, with occasional death metal growls. Now throw in a bit of melodic guitar work like Dissection. Nothing at all like most viking metal. That’s not to say it is bad! Just make sure you realize this as well. Most of the songs are good, save for a few. My favorites and some to check out are: A Dialog with the Stars, Ars Memorativa, and the cover of Uriah Heep’s Rainbow Demon is phenomenal