Released: 2014, Napalm Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Meaning “Winter Sorrow” in Swedish, VINTERSORG is a band that represents their country in both tongue and musicality. With lyrical themes ranging from paganism, to astronomy and philosophy, the church of VINTERSORG is a broad one to worship at. With eight albums prior to this one (Naturbal being their ninth) in their back catalogue, as well as their excellent 1998 EP, we have a lot to compare this new record too, as well as many brilliant LPs that Naturbal must stand up against!
It doesn’t take too long for it to become apparent that this may well be the most folky piece of work VINTERSORG have put out, with folk instruments (although they sound suspiciously more like keyboards) layering melodies on top of the heavy but smooth sounding guitars. These additional pieces of instrumentation as well as the Swedish lyrics are two of the band’s trademarks, but what is also a memorable feature on this album is the load catchy, animated and anthem-like choruses and refrains that appear on almost every song. A great example of this can be heard on track two- “Överallt och ingenstans,” a track which also sees a great use of layered acoustic guitars to create a suitably atmospheric intro piece.
On the contrary of the dominating folk elements, black metal rasps are sadistically executed by Andreas Hedlund, which complement the odd murky guitar riff that’s thrown in every track or two. Towards the end of the A-side, “Lågornas rov” offers the strongest vocal line on the album, and also demonstrates a powerful and fair-sized clean vocal range for Hedlund.
Whilst this album certainly has something to offer for a multitude of metal fans, it is most poignantly characterized by the poppy choruses, which take melody in metal to a place which is probably best left to the contestants of the Eurovision Song Contest. (Look it up on YouTube our American readers, but please forgive me afterwards). While the strains of black metal still remain (and give me something to enjoy in this album), some sections of this record would be more at home on a Sabaton album, and that might not be a bad thing to you, so give this record a try, no matter what genre your ears feel most comfortable in!
Review by Jarod Lawley