Released: 2003, Regimental Records
This is a bit of a catch-up releases as it were for one of the most respected bands in the genre. The band has signed with Regimental records who issued this four song (plus intro) MCD. It is loaded with goodies such as the first out of print Winter Warfare MCD from 2002 and four bonus live tracks. I believe this is the precursor to a new full length studio CD.
Operation Winter Mist play the most primal sort of black metal a little developed sub-sub-genre of War Metal. Oddly enough Western Canada has a very strong War Metal scene as it were and there is some high caliber talent with OWM being one of the bright lights in the northern sky. The band has been around for a few years and have several demo’s and rehearsal tapes floating around in extremely limited quantity but this is the first real pro-effort widely available. This band really is as underground as you are going to get. The grim rawness of the production value only enhances the atmosphere of this hard to get CD. The debut MCD had 200 copies pressed and at least now Regimental have pressed 1000 of WWII.
War is obviously the main theme, with lots of intros especially the haunting intro (track 5) which really brings home the harsh reality and horrific nature of trench warfare. The packaging also reflects this continued theme, lots of black and white photos of warfare and thankfully lyrics are included for the six actual songs. Printing the lyrics will dispel some of the unfounded accusations that OWM have racial themes. The topics at hand are war, nothing more, nothing less. The band throws in a cover of Bathory’s Sadist as well. It’s even more raw than the original! The live track are even rougher quality. Taken from a live video this is about as un-produced as you will ever hear.
Old Bathory and Venom are reference points with added touches of modern speed, harsher vocals, and surprisingly tuneful at times. The guitar are a distorted wall of noise bass and guitar at times bleeding together and the band adhere to the uncompromising nature of black metal under-production. Panzer has a midrange scream approach to vocal delivery, not really a hiss or shriek style nor a death metal growl either. His vocals are cold and effective.
The band can be fast but they don’t always rely on blast-beats, instead at times employ an ominous marching beat perhaps symbolic of the advancing legions, as heard on cuts like ‘Iron Coffins’. Uncompromising, this is for the most dedicated fans of true black metal. I don’t expect many people (metal fans) to get it, let alone enjoy it but the quality is already evident as the frost-bitten north war campaign continues to make small ripples in the deep underground.