There is one thing which can be said for sure about Andreas Hedlund a.k.a Vintersorg: He is one of the most hardworking musicians worldwide, while still maintaining a certain level of quality. Was he able to create such a striking record as Till Fjälls or at least Jordpuls again, or is his Orkan just a balmy breeze?
Orkan is the eighth studio record released under the banner of Vintersorg. It covers eigth songs with a total playing time of 50:28 minutes, which means that the songs are getting longer compared to their previous records. We start right away with the review, as I guess no one really needs further background information on Vintersorg, as they are quite famous.
Orkan starts, similiar to their latest record Jordpuls, quite harsh and full of dismal black metal chords, accompanied with the typical growls and clean vocals of Hedlund. Imitating a swarm of angry bees, the guitars are forming the rhythm-base while some shriek synthesizer sounds are providing the melody/accents before the song starts to get slower, but still maintaining the gloomy atmosphere.
This passage -which nearly forces you to nod- soon gets, as typical for Vintersorg, transformed into something more cheerfull with clean vocals. This is the starting shot for a steady interplay of harsher and calmer patterns, which both get interrupted for some folky tunes like a flute or strings from time to time. The folk influence is way less compared to previous records and they are quite subtle, but there are more classical influences in exchange. Even some rock influences made it to the record, as there are quite some warm and rocking guitar solos. Although the folk influences and the synthesizers are quite subtle, they can easily start to stress your nerves, especially in songs like Ur stjärnstoft är vi komna as they are simply too much.
Besides that, and the mentioned classic influences, nothing really changed in Vintersorgs compositions. The songs are less catchy again but that favoured some progressive elements and song-structures, which seem quite natural and you still can tell that you are listening to a Vintersorg record without any problems. The lack of catchy parts is one of the two main reasons, why the tracks seem to be quite lengthy and lack something interessting, the other reason would be the long playing time. It’s quite difficult to listen to each song with enough attention as they are so lengthy. There are plenty of subtle details hidden in the thick cloud of sound, but it’s hard to get them all because the record can’t really manage to focus your attention, as mentioned before, which causes you to not here these details… a doom loop.
This shall not mean, that Orkan is just a simple succession of boring and tedious song structures, as it wouldn’t deserve to be called a record of Vintersorg this way. There are plenty of passages that can grasp your attention as they are so well played and good sounding, but there is a huge lack of innovation previous Vintersorg records could offer. Orkan seems to be a collection of good, but not brilliant ideas for songs that were bundled to release another record within a year. The production is quite well done though, although really every space was filled with instruments, which causes the sound to tend to be overladen, but it’s still nice though.
Orkan is a quite difficult record, as it offers many of the elements you would expect from Vintersorg, but – at least in my opinion, many things are missing as well. If you haven’t got any of their previous record, this one might be the right for you to start a collection, as there are some good songs for sure, offering a huge spectrum of their skills, although the real mixture is lacking. If you own some of their previous record, I would recommend not to buy this one as it tends to become boring as everything seems to repeat itself over the years. The quintessence is: Orkan is a quite good record for everyone new to Vintersorg, while it tends to become boring (because of a lack of innovation) for those having heard their previous stuff.
Date of release: April, 29th 2012
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