Vintersorg – “Naturbål” (Napalm Records)
If ABBA were a black metal band then undoubtedly their name would be Vintersorg. Formed in the mid 90s and inspired by the 47 volume Scandinavian novels of ‘The Legend of the Ice People’, Vintersorg’s music is equally mystical, as if being formed and harking back to a land that time forgot. Over the years it has evolved through folk and experimental with the lyrics being equally diverse from metaphysics to astrology! Centered around by the duo of Andreas “Vintersorg” Hedlund (composer, vocals, guitars, keyboard, programing) and Mattias Marklund (guitar), “Naturbål”seems to be more 70s prog inspired but does retain folk melodies and backed by a black-ish background, the elements of which vary from song to song, some oozing multi layered hippy style male n female vocal harmonies, whilst others incorporate gruff vocals amidst stylishly fluid guitars. At times the mix borders almost on a cacophony, especially when more acoustic guitars, piano and pipes try to squeeze themselves in on songs like ‘Rymdens brinnande öar’, ‘En blixt från klar himmel’ and ‘Urdarmåne’ – not to mention occasional blast beat forays! But the flowing harmonies work a treat in finally binding everything together into powerfully passionate anthems that provide plenty of elating moments to brilliantly contrast all the well placed intensity. Clearly intellectually challenging, Vintersor’s music is no less in demand with this being their 10th release, not to mention Hedlund’s own sought after skills in other bands – Borknagar and Cronian to name a few – in garnering the respect of guest musicians like Steve DiGiorgio who’ve graced past releases of this mesmerizing band that continue to create and go beyond boundaries in the purest sense.