Winter of Sin (reissue)

Hailing from Norway, Fester released Winter of Sin back in 1992 and their rendition of death metal was a slower, crawling, almost doomy dusty take on the genre, with black metal rasps that were quite a bit different from the Swedish explosion and the tight clinical US assaults of the time. So Abyss Records has dusted off the album, slapped on a new cover, a live track from 1991 and re-released it.

I can’t say what the response to the album was back in 1992 or if it’s some sort of unheralded forgotten classic, buried under all the great albums being released in that era — especially when you consider Norway was more known for its black metal than death metal around those times. But suffice to say, I wasn’t that impressed with the album the first time around and I’m still not overly impressed. Even more so when you compare it to the follow-up in 1996’s more experimental (but excellent) Silence.

Granted, Fester were maybe doing something a bit different for 1992, but when you compare Winter of Sin to other albums released in 1992, it just isn’t really up to par. The…ahem…festering hues and rough, gravelly guitar tone is suitably gnarly and primal–if relatively thin–and the whole affair has a very DIY, garage, demo feel with a scrawly, loose tone and some primitive solo work and to be frank, some rather I’ll fitting vocals, as like I said, they’d be more in line with Norway’s black metal scene.

The songs are all pretty long and drawn out, which is why some may have thrown the doom/death reference out back in the day — especially with the likes of “Liberation” and “As Swords Clinch the Air”. To me, it sounds like demo-quality Swedish death metal or a Celtic Frost cover band that’s been hit with a tranquilizer gun or overdosed on Nyquil, rather than some sort of forward thinking, genre defining sound that I’ve seen it touted as. And I’ll say it once again, the vocals that might have been considered ‘different’ for death metal in 1994, are actually pretty grating, notably when joined with the hokey synths of “A Dog Fight Leaves a Trace”. I’ll just let that song title sink in…and the bonus live track.

With so many reissues of some truly legendary and unheralded classics coming out as of late, I’m not sure this needed to come out with any of them. The Silence reissue that Abyss recently did is much more worthwhile and deserving. But in the end, just cause its from the ’90s and comes from Scandinavia, it doesn’t mean that it NEEDS to be reissued. Some albums simply deserve to stay buried.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 15th, 2011


  1. Commented by: shaden

    not as good as molested,etc,but we’ll see how their new record sounds when it comes out

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