The whole Viking metal scene has really swelled into a large pool of talent in the last decade. Front-runners like Amon Amarth have stayed tried-and-true in their quest for a vision that is more about staying true than continuity in some senses. That’s not to say all bands in this sub-genre are painted with the same brush, but the aforementioned band is judged by many as the measuring stick for this particular sound in the current musical landscape.
So along comes a band like Vinterblot. Showing that geographic location doesn’t necessitate feel for a particular geographic custom in a musical sense, the Italian band take on many of the hallmarks of the aforementioned genre and put it into their second full-length album with as much ease and talent as their respective heroes. Blast beats and an underlying black metal fury duel with a powerful Viking-death onslaught to form a solid effort. Mixed and mastered by the legendary Dan Swano, he puts a stamp of quality on the overall recording and gives the musicians a polished product.
While the riffs are punishing and the delivery is unrelenting and true to form, it has to be known that this band is not doing anything radically different. The first spin of this album gave me enough to want to explore further, and the second and third listens definitely helped to make this album grow on me and help me hear more layers and feel the vibe more. The main problem for me is that out of nine tracks, it took till the sixth track (the simple and effective acoustic chorded ambiance of “…of Woods And Omen”) to give me their full attention. The last three tracks have a nice flow and punch (specifically “Stone Carved Silence” and album closer “Triumph Recalls My Name”), bringing the overall energy of the music up quite a few notches. To these ears, it would’ve made more sense to put these tracks at the beginning of the album to keep the listeners attention.
This group has the talent, has the chops, and are obviously driven towards keeping the original Scandinavian roots of the music intact with this release. What needs to happen going forward is a realization that paying tribute and moving forward are two different things, and perhaps the latter needs to be paid more attention to while continuing to embrace the qualities of the former.
01. Evoked By Light
03. Unveiling The Night’s Curtain
04. The Summoning
05. Vagrant Spirits In A Misty Rainfall
06. …of Woods And Omen
07. Stone Carved Silence
08. Throne Of Snakes
09. Triumph Recalls My Name
Playing time: 40:38
Release date: 25 January, 2016
Label: Nemeton Records
Website: Vinterblot Official Website