I saw these guys on Paganfest V and was really impressed so I bought their debut album at the merchandise booth. I was not disappointed.
This American band of pagan folk/power Metallists have put together a nice looking independent debut. The sextet has a good band name, a cool logo, good cover art and a an appealing The 8-page booklet is full colour with lyrics and a photo of each band member in battle-gear. The production is fine as well. On a non-musical level they have paid attention to important detail like presentation and image and Winterhymn are ready to compete on the international stage.
The 12-song album runs for a good hour with songs running from the 4 to 8 minute range showing they are not afraid to stretch their song-writing wings a little. In terms of originality SONGS FOR THE SLAIN adheres firmly to the style and principles of the sub-genre. As I’ve stated many times before being radical or different is not a huge attraction for me. I’d rather have a well-performed and executed album than an album that messes with the conventions of the genre too much. Accordingly there are lots of folk/pagan elements with violin courtesy of Umbriel, and you can hear mandolin, jewsharp, and more, as all these instruments expand the sonic palette. For example, I like the tinwhistle solo over the drum beats near the end of ‘Stand Your Ground’. The vokills of Ulfr are gruff and he weaves tales of trolls, castles, forests and of course drinking! He has a counterpoint with some clean vocals from Drang and there are a few gang-shouts along the way. The overall sound is bit darker and heavier, leaning away from the bouncy, happy style of some of the bands.
Winterhymn are already battle-tested and I suppose I’m not the only one who thinks so if they landed the prestigious and coveted opening slot on Paganfest. After this tour they will be battle-hardened and ready fro album number two! Grab SONGS FOR THE SLAIN before they get big and it gets hard to find!
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