Vinterbris
Solace

Tremendous energy courses through this excellent sophomore LP from Norwegian melodic black metal four-piece Vinterbris.  Although Vinterbris sit comfortably in the melodic black metal category, instead of retreading the past they offer a fresh, vibrant take on the style, crafting a modern black metal album of enormous depth and quality.  The band’s distinctive riffs and dynamic compositions are absolutely top shelf, while an oddly radiant glow resonates throughout the album, like a strange orb of energy penetrating grey skies and illuminating the bare tree limbs stretching upwards, lending refreshing warmth to the otherwise frosty temperatures.  There’s certainly no lack of blazing speed or aggression on display, just that Vinterbris aren’t solely focused on sounding relentlessly grim the whole time.  They allow the music to breathe, exploring varied moods and textures, coloring their sonic palette with rich shades of red to counterbalance the grey and wintry exterior.

Over its concise 35-minute running time, Solace maintains a high standard from beginning to end; from the gorgeous acoustic passages adorning opener “Dysphoria” right up to the epic march and groove of closing track “Euphoria”, not a second is wasted.  Equal parts majestic and ripping, Solace effortlessly fluctuates between vice-tight blasts and scything tremolos one moment, to triumphant mid-paced gallops equipped with striking dual guitar melodies the next.  The band’s accomplished compositional skills and cunning balance of melody and aggression is expertly crafted across the album’s epic six cuts, particularly on the speedy blast-beat strewn “Ash Alight”. Solace begins strongly and doesn’t let up with arguably the second half of the album featuring the most epic and memorable material.  The steady mid-tempo clip of “The Aurora of Despair” takes nearly half its hefty eight minute run time to hit the afterburners, but it remains an engaging, tempered display of shimmering atmosphere and superb riff-craft, making the eventual bursts of aggression all the more impactful.  The almost buoyant uptempo surge of “Gazing at a Fallen Sky” is another memorable gem, featuring killer guitar work and some of the album’s catchiest melodies.

The top notch individual performances are tight and energetic, with particular mention reserved for the razor sharp and soulful twin guitar chemistry shared between Henrik Skar and Richard Hemre Dahle.  The duo possesses a seemingly endless array of interesting riffs and duelling harmonies, ripping out fluid, soulful leads when the situation warrants.  Meanwhile the stylish and varied drumming of Ivan Rolstad oozes class whilst bringing tons of energy and a technical edge into the fray, joined in lockstep unison by the anchoring bass of Kristoffer Aalhus.  Skar’s vocals are a cut above average fare, alternating between his dominant higher-pitched rasp and a burlier death growl, his delivery dripping with a raw mix of emotion and aggression. Vinterbris opt for a decidedly slick modern production that avoids sounding too clinical or soulless. The drums are mixed a touch too obtrusively during the blast beat segments, otherwise Solace is excellently mixed and produced.

Solace is a refreshingly addictive listen with high replay value that has consistently blown me away with its captivating brilliance. Vinterbris have crafted a sublime melodic black metal album with gusto and songwriting flair, standing out as one of the year’s more impressive, under-the-radar releases.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
July 10th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    Seems like 2014 will be a banner year for melodic Black Metal, after a dry spell of quite a few years.


  2. Commented by: vugelnox

    The production is much too shiny, clean and over-triggered for this type of music and really works against it but if you can deal with that then the music is quite good!


  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    finally checking it out, quite enjoying it. strong writing and melodies.


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