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Vintersorg - Till Fjälls Del II album review

Progressive pagan metallers hold a mirror to their past

Cover art for Vintersorg - Till Fjälls Del II album

Prolific multi-instrumentalist Andreas Hedlund has masterminded Sweden’s Vintersorg for over 20 years, this one-time one-man-band maintaining a regular schedule of interesting long-players since 1998 debut Till Fjälls hit a high watermark of melodic black/folk/Viking metal. After dabbling in more cosmic, progressive forms they’ve gradually reintegrated their original blueprint, so much so that Vintersorg – now a three-piece – have happily returned to their much-loved windswept debut to frame their 10th album as a sequel (or, as Andreas puts it, a “lost twin”). A bold move, but you can’t deny the band the urge to continue a saga across decades, particularly when the result is such a dynamic reformation of atavistic shapes. The four songs on disc two are fascinating new arrangements of ideas dating back to the mid-90s, complementing new material beautifully. What could have been a contrived, backward looking exercise in fanboy pleasing ends up a positive celebration of the band’s early impulses, toned, reshaped and given new impetus by years of experiment and experience.

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.