Vindland
Hanter Savet

It was a forgone conclusion that Forteresse’s impending Thèmes pour la rébellion, was going to be an easy shoo in for my favorite black metal album of 2016. Then along comes upstart Black Lion Productions, who already impressed with Hyperion’s Seraphical Euphonyand deliver a physical release ( it was an independent digital release last year) one of the more striking, memorable and downright melodic black metal albums I have heard in a long time.

Vindland has a few loose ties to some more established acts like Belenos and Les Chants Des Nihil, and all their Pagan/Folk based themes and lyrics are written and sung in Breton, the original tongue of where they hail, Brittany, France. And while certainly black or viking metal in tone, this is about as melodic black metal as you can get, rife with epic themes of battles and such, the album drips with ancient, rousing elements that will fuel pagan blood lust and war mongering.

Comparisons are hard, but there’s plenty of Eastern European pagan/folk black metal in here, plenty of Windir, some of the Northern Silence stuff (Saor, Vallendusk, Woods of Desolation), and some elements reminded me of last years’s Thormesis release, but what stands out is the band’s grasp of melody and harmony. Bassist/guitarist song writer Camille Lepallec, has such a fine grasp of melodic riffage that its often breathtaking. The plethora of tremolo picked harmonies and delicate lead work that dances around almost every track and riff is some of the most engaging I have heard in recent times.

“Orin Kozh” starts things off with a glorious little canter and trot with a lovely little acoustic bridge about 2;20 in. It’s a nice opener, but then personal favorite, “Treuzwelus” comes galloping forth with one of the more addictive, bouncy melody lines of recent memory. It’s repeated in various forms  throughout , but each time, is better and more shimmery than the last, and might be one of my favorite songs of the year  far. This sort of theme and overlaying melody is the central structure of most of the album’s 9 songs (for example, 11 minute monster “Skeud Ar Gwez” has a very similar melody line). And all of them work wonderfully, even if a little familiar later in the album.

Every track is simply gorgeous; after a ferociously melodic little opening,”Serr-Noz” has a delicate little tinkling ambient segue, there’s the more somber mood an gait of “Skleur Dallus” and “Morlussen”, or more traditional frosty blast of “Pedenn Koll”, “Skorneg Du” has a killer little trot at 3:30 or so. All vaguely similar, but still amazing. The album ends with a re-recorded version of “And the Battle Ended” from the band’s 2009 EP Ancestors Age, and its equally as glorious as all the other tracks cementing the album’s epic, melodic, rousing duration with a harmonic cantering clarion and it place on my 2016 year end list.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 16th, 2016

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