I´ve got great admiration for Andreas Hedlund, also known as VINTERSORG, the musical tour de force from Skellefteå, Sweden. The guy´s filled with music and thankfully has plenty of outlets to channel his ideas. That said, I must confess his works have always been a bit of hit and miss; “Visions From The Spiral Generator” was a case of variation and experiment being shot to pieces, whereas follow up “The Focusing Blur” sounded better and still ranks among my fave Prog Metal releases with a twist of avantgardeism.
“Orkan” or “Hurricane” marks the eighth release for the “band” (seeing as they are only two members), and definitely is a step back into their more aggressive and Viking/Folk beginnings. The symphonic side is still to be found, especially on “Ur Stjårnstoft År Vi Komna” are plenty of keyboard interludes. Otherwise you´re in for a seasoned mix of Metal with blackened riffs, folky melodies, a few progressive sections, flutes and lots of tempo variation.
VINTERSORG´s vocals haven´t progressed much, but he´s still all over the place with his harsh vocals and clean harmonies, which adds beautiful textures to the music; opener “Istid” is a good example of how the guy easily weaves his somewhat complex vocal arrangements around the riffs and melodies. The sound mix is without a doubt the best the band has ever had, while also being very raw and attacking.
If you thought the last two albums sacrificed heavy for prog, “Orkan” will delight with a more balanced sound, armed with atmosphere and some of the heaviest stuff the band has ever done.
(Online July 6, 2012)