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Vintersorg - Till Fjälls Del II album review

Progressive pagan metallers hold a mirror to their past

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.