Visions from the Spiral Generator

Coming off the Cosmic Genesis release, I could not wait to expand my brain particles with Vintersorg’s latest, Visions from the Spiral Generator. From his work with Borknagar and Havayoth, to the folk project of Otyg, his cosmic lyrics, and his self-named project, is there a more humble metaller pushing the status quo to take us beyond than Vintersorg?

With that said, Visions from the Spiral Generator is a step backwards from Cosmic Genesis. On Cosmic Genesis, songs like “Astral and Arcane,” “Ars Memorativa,” “The Enigmatic Spirit,” and the title track contained clean vocal, soaring choruses matching the expansive lyrical content. This was backed by enough solid riffing, structural changes, measured melodies, and the tinge of black metal to evoke a dream of mystery. In Visions from the Spiral Generator, these clean vocal choruses and more experimental aspects are unfortunately more weakness than highlights. The black metal riffs and growls have strengthened on Visions, but there is not enough of that strength and it’s not really what makes Vintersorg so special anyway. Furthermore, the music and vocals seem disconnected and segmented at times, with one apparently implanted on the other without holism.

“Vem Styr Symmetrin” begins with an appropriate thunder, but loses its energy somewhere along the way. “Universums Dunkla Alfabet” also begins promisingly and even seems to flirt with greatness, but ultimately fails to connect and loses me with its campy chorus. “E.S.P. Mirage” is the low point for me when Vintersorg’s mysticism for the first time comes off as tacky with an awful chorus and a pseudo-cosmic guitar and keyboard opening. “A Metaphysical Drama” and “Spegelsfaren” are two of the stronger cuts on the release, but they also do not quite compete with Cosmic Genesis classics. “A Star-Guarded Coronation” contains interesting keyboards, a nice guitar solo, and good chorus, but it comes as too little too late.

Despite the letdown, it’s still a joy to read Vintersorg’s lyrics which are indeed themselves music to my ears. Not pretentious, random, or whimsical, Vintersorg’s words are coherent, insightful, questioning, and appreciative. They discuss and dissect cosmology, physics, and metaphysics with poetic swirls and in relation to human experience. Indeed, they hold a special place in artistry and metal music. Thus, it pains me to say anything negative about Vintersorg. His work is worthy of accolades and appreciation, deserving far more attention than he seems to gain. I encourage listeners to check out Vintersorg’s body of work, just don’t start out with Visions from the Spiral Generator.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Tim Dodd
June 24th, 2002


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