Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vintersorg: Jordpuls (2011)


Vintersorg is a progressive Viking metal band from Sweden who have released seven albums since their debut in 1998. They are the namesake of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Andreas "Vintersorg" Hedlund, who has also done impressive work with Borknagar. Jordpuls is my first experience with this band, but I picked it up because Borkanagar's Universal impressed me on many fronts.

JordpulsThe musical approach is a strange beast. Yes, it sounds like Viking metal: strong influence from black metal and folk music, with anthemic songs. But what makes it odd is that the focus is clearly on the vocals. Metal tends to focus on guitars and, to a lesser extent, drums, but only a few (Slough Feg, Danzig) put this much emphasis on the singer. And he definitely has the voice and singing chops to pull it off. He has a capable black metal rasp, but the clean vocals are the real star. They're emotional, dramatic, beautiful, and distinctive. The closest to his style is probably ICS Vortex, the former Borknagar vocalist and Dimmu Borgir clean singer. The vocals are even better layered, either with two clean vocals to create harmony or with a clean and rasp to create contrast.

The focus on vocals is especially strange considering how much is really going on in the music. Besides the usual suspects, there are keyboards, Hammond organ, and digital effects, and every instrument seems to be doing something different all the time. The effect is not chaos, but high drama, a suitable backdrop for the vocals. All of it is cleanly produced, and considering everything that's happening that is a wise choice.

The songs are extremely well-written, full of hooks and varying tempos and rhythms, and tend to alternate between harder and softer sections. "Palissader" may be the highlight, but other standouts include "Klippor Och Skär" and "Skogen Sover". Seeing as this is basically a solo project, there are bound to be a couple duds, and "Stjärndyrkan" fits the bill, while closer "Eld Och Lågor" probably won't get much play unless you're listening to the whole album.

The Verdict: I am completely sold on Vintersorg's approach. This is catchy stuff, and it's got drama and progressiveness in spades. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. I really enjoy Vintersorg, but I haven't checked this out yet. I'll have to get to it some time soon I think.

  2. I would really enjoy Vintersorg if it weren't for that darn drum machine...