Released: 2014, Hell’s Headbangers Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Fimbulwinter may already be a name some of you are familiar with, not from this album title but from a cult early 90s black metal band named Fimbulwinter, which contained members who would go on to participate greatly in Dimmu Borgir. In this case however, we have the result of album number five from the wintry Finish wolves SATANIC WARMASTER. This band may have the most grainy promo pictures that you will see in the modern day, but their underground appeal is obviously outgrowing their small beginnings, as this LP has reached number fourteen on the official Finish charts.
The wintry storm is immediately brewed by the chaotic, frosty riffing of “FimbulWinter’s Spell” and immediately a huge change can be noticed between this and SATANIC WARMASTER’S last effort. The production values have been increased tremendously, the guitars sounding much more ferocious, the vocals pack more punch than ever before and the drums have gone from the “tin-cans played with sticks” sound of Nachzeher to having a deep, thunderous sound, complete with Grieghallen-style tom reverb. Immortal’s influence (earlier records) can be heard through the impressive right-hand guitar speeds that mediate classic sounding riffs with beastly tones.
Unfortunately, it seems that this solo act (despite having various live/session members) may have lost some of its charm. Sure, everything sounds meatier and more professional, but given the choice, I’d take the sloppy played, amateurish sounding Nachzeher album over without a question. The song writing really falls short on this record and essentially it actually leaves me with the feeling that the immediate excitement I felt during the opening moments of this LP was all plastic wrapping with an actually rather disappointing set of songs inside.
There are plenty of elements to be enjoyed here, for example the romantic use of keyboards as they glide over the guitar work on “Funeral Wolves”, and the tones of melodic black metal that can be found in the mid-90s sounding “Thunder’s Fall”. But it’s a disspointment to say that the weaker songs really let this record down, as there are moments of great potential here. My advice to all non-diehards would be to skim through the tracks on BandCamp (link provided), pick a few favourites and leave the rest.
Review by Jarod Lawley