Vintersorg

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Hedniskhjärtad EP

Vintersorg - Hedniskhjärtad EP ©1998 Napalm Records
1. Norrland
2. Stilla
3. Norrskensdrömmar
4. Hednaorden
5. Tussmökret

This short EP is apparently a handful of older songs that Vintersorg deemed too important to completely cast away. The result is five Ulver-esque folk-tinged melodic black metal. The music revolves mostly around the fluid, melodic guitar leads, much like what Ulver did on Bergtatt. Vocally, Vintersorg alternates between a common black metal scream and some overly dramatic and almost cumbersome deep voice that is probably aiming to be epic but doesn't quite get there. However, that's just a minor flaw because these songs are all very well written and performed otherwise. The general atmosphere succeeds throughout the album and is maintained on all the tracks. "Norrskensdrömmar" in particular has a very stirring melody and moves nicely throughout. All in all, this Vintersorg EP is a nice foray into what I call Gray Metal (not black metal by common definition, but having a lot of elements of the style) and recommended.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1999

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Till Fjälls

Vintersorg - Till Fjälls ©1998 Napalm Records
1. Rundans
2. För Kung Och Fosterland
3. Vildmarkens Fötrollande Stämmer
4. Till Fjälls
5. Urberget, Ädst Av Troner
6. Hednad I Ulvermanes Tecken
7. Jökeln
8. Isjungfrun
9. Asatider
10. Fangad Utav Nordens Själ

The one man project Vintersorg continues on his tradition of epic, occasionally folk sounding metal. Throughout this above average album, Vintersorg treats us to a whole lot of memorable riffs, some reasonably solid melodies and overall good songwriting. The general sound is not too unlike earlier Ulver, utilizing a lot of fluid leads and occasional faster black metal breaks. The one thing that might cause a lot of people to cringe is Vintersorg's vocals, which often stray into a faux-dramatic zone and over do things. What this guy needs is a producer who can get him to sing rather than vocalize dramatically at a lower octave which doesn't sound entirely comfortable to him. It does tend to give the music an unintentional cartoony edge. And I doubt that is what Vintersorg was striving towards. Meanwhile, the songs over which he croons are just simply good. "För kung och fosterland" has a guitar melody that smokes, sounding timeless and at home in any genre of metal. Whatever else you can say about Vintersorg, the guy can put together an album's worth of songs that flow well, continually give the listener a feeling of progression and become memorable in a hurry. So keep that in mind if you are hankering for any sort of epic gray metal along the lines of Ulver meets a Viking convention.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1999

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Cosmic Genesis

Vintersorg - Cosmic Genesis ©2000 Napalm Records
1. Astral And Arcane
2. Algol
3. A Dialogue With The Stars
4. Cosmic Genesis
5. Om Regnbagen Materialiserades
6. Ars Memorauva
7. Rainbow Demon
8. Naturens Galleri
9. The Enigmatic Spirit

If nothing else, Vintersorg's Cosmic Genesis is most likely going to be viewed as a warm-up for his upcoming new role as Borknagar's lead singer, replacing Simen Haestanas, who moved onto Dimmu Borgir. And that guy was the replacement for original Borknagar vocalist Garm, who we all know as that curmudgeon from Ulver and Arcturus. Needless to say, Vintersorg has his work cut out for him and certainly many will be judging his potential ability on his main project.

Vintersorg, now three albums and an EP deep, has long been the better of his two main projects, Vintersorg and Otyg, the latter of which is simply dreadful. Vintersorg, the project, is a mix between folkish elements, classic metal riffing (of which Vintersorg, the guitarist, has many in his songwriting arsenal), clean and rasped vocals, and minor orchestration effects. In the past, Vintersorg, the singer, has had the inclination to force his clean vocals and come across as that guy from the Crash Test Dummies whenever he tried to hit lower notes. Fortunately, this time around he seems much more confident in his delivery and although there's a certain amount of faux dramaticism in his clean vocals, they are much more palatable and less cringe-worthy. Occasionally, such as on "Rainbow Demon", he sounds a bit like Dan Swanö's Sisters of Mercy imitation vocals. The songs here are all fairly solid, showing he still has a few good riffs hiding around his cottage. The album is well produced and gives all the instruments relatively good space in which to work, without cluttering things up. There are some who are calling this one of the albums of the year, but that is hardly the case. What Cosmic Genesis represents is yet another solid piece of work from Vintersorg, though not the type of album that'll get played often over time. Needless to say, it'll be curious to see how he does in Borknagar.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2001

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