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Feared: Vinter

Savage Swedes up their game of heavy metal grandeur

Led by Ola Englund, now also guitarist with The Haunted, Feared have steadily evolved and matured over the course of three albums but have yet to transcend their status as a primarily cult concern in Scandinavian extreme metal. Vinter deserves to change that, not least because this is by far the biggest-sounding and most deftly constructed of the band’s records to date.

It’s bolstered by a crushing production job that marries the best of old-school grubbiness with gleaming, state-of-the-art impact.

Ola’s riffs are the key to these songs’ vicious efficacy; on the vitriolic surge of Hate Is Everything and the lolloping, Gojira-tinged Mass Destruction, Feared skillfully hedge their bets between deathly grind and ultra-modern oomph, resulting in a timely but ageless hybrid of brutal styles with authentic crossover charisma.

Vocalist Mario Ramos’s versatile arsenal of growls and screams keeps the likes of Needle Effect and Invidia in underground-friendly territory, but there is an overall sense of grandeur and girth throughout that seems to point to greater potential than bands of this stripe would normally expect.