Released: 2013, Self-released
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Swedish guitarist Ola Englund's been one busy dude over the last year or so, recording and performing with Six Feet Under, more recently with The Haunted and, here, with his own band Feared, which issued two new albums in 2013. The latest of which is Vinter, Feared's fifth full-length since 2010, yet their first as a full band.
This time around, Englund and frontman Mario Santos Ramos are joined by the rhythm section of bassist Jocke Skog, formerly of Clawfinger, and drummer Kevin Talley, who's played with just about everyone including Englund on the last Six Feet Under album, Unborn. The addition of real drums, as opposed to programming, makes a real difference here, especially when said drummer brings the impeccable timing and rhythmic flair that Talley does.
He and Skog give Feared's melodic thrash/death metal some real swing and “bottom” that carries over to Englund's guitaring, which is hefty and hooky throughout. Vinter is certainly the band's most natural sounding, cohesive album and, thanks to tracks like the groove-laden “Huldra,” “Mylingen” or “Mass Destruction,” arguably packs the most punch. “Hate Is Everything,” “Your God” and “Needle Effect” kick up the tempos and, not surprisingly, kick that much more ass.
The doomy “My Shadow World,” by contrast, offers some nifty melodic guitar swells, even though the song itself is a bit plodding and stumbles from Ramos' one-dimensional growl. His ferocious voice is fine for the more aggressive tracks, but when more finesse is in order, like here or “Erased,” it's a bit too abrasive.
But that's a relatively minor complaint. Vinter is a big step up for this prolific band that have gotten incrementally better in pretty short order. If Englund can hold this unit together, and he and Talley's other commitments don't get in the way, the sky could be the limit for these guys.