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Likferd - 94%

Lars_Stian, April 1st, 2017

''Likferd'' proved that Windir didn't know how to disappoint. There's more complexity in the songwriting than on previous releases, and ''Likferd'' is, as all other Windir releases, among my favourite metal albums.

There's quite some diversity on this album, you get both pure black metal riffage, as well as the viking metal songs Windir is known for. The guitar work on ''Likferd'' is quite melodic, notes play high up on the fretboard with both speed and precision, however there's also a fair amount of power chords, as well as tremolo picking. Valfar added many new elements to the band, whilst still keeping the beloved Windir sound. The synth, though less predominant than on previous recordings, is a major aspect of the album, and is a great example as to how to properly use synth in metal.

The music itself is for the most part quite fast paced, however every so often there's a break from the speed, and tempo decrease. The song order on the album is in itself quite interesting; it starts of as solid black metal, with some experimental traits, however about halfway through the album, it transitions into some of the greatest viking metal I've ever heard. That isn't to say that there's no viking influence on the first half, however, only that they're a lesser aspect, whilst on the latter half, the album fully embraces their viking sound.

The guitarwork is great, and much like its predecessors, it's quite melodic, as I've already stated. The guitars are different in the aspect of their excessive use of tremolo picking, and though there was a fair amount of tremolo picking on ''1184'', it's quite a lot more on ''Likferd''. The guitar tone is very good, as they're heavily distorted, yet are clean enough to be heard properly.

The drumming is also very well done; and Steingrim is quite a talented drummer, and I think he has improved quite a lot since ''1184''. There's more variety. Though speed is used when necessary, there's plentiful of instances where the drums are nice, slow and quite basic, which makes it way more impactful when speed and blast beats are actually used. The kicks are also very impressive, and the sheer speed on the kicks is a bit baffling to me, as I can barely go half the speed for half the time.

The bass guitar isn't really audible most of the time, which is a shame, as Hvall isn't to bad of a bassist. Though there are a few instances, such as the intro to ''Blodsvik'', the bass is pretty much never heard, so it's hard to comment on it. The synth is, as I've already stated, quite good. One problem I've had with synth in metal, and in black metal especially, is when the synth never plays it's own melody and is clearly written by the guitarist who doesn't even play synth, however this is not the case for Windir. The synth adds quite a lot to the music, and though it often dwells in the background, there are numerous instances where the synth takes the lead.

As for the lyrics, I have somewhat of a split opinion. Windir's Norwegian lyrics are great, however their English lyrics aren't as amazing. The English lyrics are okay, they're not inherently bad, however they're somewhat mediocre. The Norwegian lyrics, however, are indeed quite epic. The Norwegian lyrics, written in the Sogn dialect, showcases brilliant use of rhyme, and the historical and somber themed lyrics feel so genuine, and it's clear that they're written with passion, and thus they're very enjoyable (unless you're not Norwegian, of course, in which case that's a shame).

The vocals aren't to different from any other Windir album, and the shrieks are quite regular black metal vocals. The clean vocals are great, however, and they can only be described as epic. I have a similar problem with the use of clean vocals as I do with synth; clean vocals usually just follow the same melody as the guitars, however the clean vocals here stand own their own, and provide their own melody. I can only really picture Cosmocrator in full viking armour doing these vocals, as his voice is what I'd imagine a viking's would sound like.

The production is fine, however I'm a black metal fan, so take that as you may. You can hear each instrument clearly, and you never really get confused as to what is played. That's not to say that the productions sounds over-polished or anything, however.