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Album Reviews : Vintersorg – Naturbål

By on August 15, 2014

Vintersorg’s Naturbål is best enjoyed while trekking through a bitter cold black forest at midnight on the way to a crackling fire. Or at least that is the impression I get when I listen to it. To be honest, I listened to this album once and was ready to write this album off completely as nothing grabbed my attention. But being the professional that I am I thought I should probably give it another listen. Or two. Or three. Well, it took a while but am now well and truly enjoying Naturbål.

For those not in the loop, Naturbål (or nature’s bonfire in Swedish according to the internet) is the third in a series of four albums dealing with natural elements, and ninth album overall. It follows on from Orkan (wind themed) and Jordpuls (earth themed) and will hopefully finish with a heart themed album and a captain planet style apparition appearing.

The first thing most people will probably notice is the artwork of the album, I know that’s what caught my eye. As with the previous two in the series, the cover is pretty dang cool, and I know it’s what attracted me to Vintersorg several years ago (who ever said don’t judge a book by its cover is clearly wrong).

This entry into the series is a little more aggressive then Orkan, but milder than some of the ‘classic’ era Vintersorg, with plenty of blackish/folkish style riffing overlaying the many orchestrated backing track. The album rapidly moves between folkish melodies, black metal and prog-metal (often within the one song) which helps to keep it fresh. Vocally, a mix of growls and clean singing, with several tracks containing female backing vocals, helps keep the album fresh.

The album is sung completely in Swedish, and as my Swedish is a little rusty, I ran some of the lyrics through google translate without much success. The internet assures me that the lyrics are about death and rebirth through fire (hence the title) so I guess I am going to have to take their word for it. For some reason I do have a soft spot for bands who sing in languages other than English, I guess it makes me focus more on the melodies rather than some lad yelling at me about death and stuff.

Everything has been meticulously produced, and nothing is lost in the mix which is quite an achievement due to how busy each track is.

As I said in the opening paragraph, it did take me a couple of listens to get into. Nothing grabbed my attention immediately, so the album went to the bottom of my playlist for a while emerging periodically to see if I now enjoyed it. My problem was that I listen to quite a bit of music while working, so quite often it can blend into the background and this is an album that needs you full attention. So sit back, relax and let the Vintersorg take you away for an hour or so.

Band: Vintersorg
Album: Naturbål
Year: 2014
Genre: Viking/folk metal
Label: Napalm Records
Origin: Sweden

Track list:
1. Ur aska och sot
2. Överallt och ingenstans
3. En blixt från klar himmel
4. Lågornas rov
5. Rymdens brinnande öar
6. Natten visste vad skymningen såg
7. Elddraken
8. Urdarmåne
9. Själ i flamma