Vinsta- Vinsta Wiads 01Some days, identifying influences is the worst part of this job. Reference points flutter atop tongue tips, tantalizingly close but ever out of reach. Vinsta provides no such difficulty. This Christian Höll (Outlawed) solo project gins up a tried-and-true formula for its debut: two parts Opeth, one part Anything Else, stir ’til frothing and mustachioed. The genre of the day is folk, but Vinsta Wiads ends up heavy on the former, light on the latter. NeO, Barren Earth, and Witherscape regularly emulated aspects of Opeth‘s work to buoyant success, while smushing the faces of two somewhat similar genres together like smooching Barbie dolls has long produced excellent metal. Vinsta dabbles in both approaches, but can they do so long enough and strong enough to separate Vinsta Wiads from a crowded field?

At first glance, Vinsta Wiads‘ pictured Austrian Alps recalled a natural meeting of AmorphisTales from the Thousand Lakes and Windir‘s 1184. The inclusion of Amorphis‘ name on the promo sheet only increased my hopes for some sort of Barren Earth-style fusion. Instead, Höll lives the fOlkpeth dream. His instrumental work draws heavily on the Swedes’ musical prowess, dabbing Akerfeldtian chord progressions and leads with acoustic layering and a heavy emphasis on a darkening soundscape. But for all of its stylistic callbacks, Vinsta Wiads would stumble without Höll’s compositional and technical prowess. “Vinsta Wiads” turns in nine minutes of convincing Opeth worship, balancing atmosphere, understated folk layering, tonal shifts, and progressive riffcraft that immediately brings to mind the complex heights of Still Life. Vinsta pack in sparkling acoustics and soothing choral layers aplenty, instead relying on Höll’s growls to ashen “Vinsta Wiad.” The lead and rhythm sections suit each other exquisitely, their pairing natural and easy thanks to Höll, a true riff sommelier in the making. They invoke heyday-Akerfeldt heavily, right down to capping chord riffs with the patented double/triple chug accent that has been ripped off by inspired everyone from Barren Earth to Ghost.

When Vinsta Wiads steps out of Still Life‘s shadow, the swampy furor of Blackwater Park takes its place. “Gedonknschwa” accelerates, accumulating momentum until reaching full blast status. Fortunately, its textures retain their soft touch and alluring nature. Though its acoustic midsection sticks around too long, a simple yet elegant Between the Buried and Me sweep rolls the good stuff back into the fold. At least early on, Vinsta provide worthwhile glimpses into the past that, though not entirely original, warrant revisiting. If anything, I wish there were more of them. Vinsta Wiads is by no means a short album, clocking in at 45 minutes, but it loses steam somewhat. The restrained riffage on “Bluatlauf” drops the guitars deeper into the mix, letting solemn choral vox and mid-tier growls propel the song to its finish. “Dei Ruaf” manages the same lengthy heights, but, like “Blautlauf,” it never shakes the feeling that it could be doing more.

Vinsta- Vinsta Wiads 02

Folk aspects are presented subtly — think Agalloch, not Turisas. They inject inflection at times but need weight in the main proceedings to separate Vinsta from its O-so-pethian sound. Vinsta do not necessarily need to fully divest their offerings from Opeth‘s to be successful — the quality of Vinsta Wiads proves as much — but remember that bit about a crowded field? Still, for a one-man band, Vinsta ladles depth and riffs aplenty. Vinsta Wiads remains as enjoyable on its tenth spin as it was on its first. Though the acoustic beauty of the spacer tracks and passages sometimes stunt the album’s progression, they want not for quality. As with everything else on Vinsta Wiads, I want more of it — stronger riffs, more integration, and the willingness to go balls out with it. I’m not asking for a reimagining of Panopticon‘s indulgent “The Long Road, I,” but that level of attention and commitment would elevate “Aufgongsjodler” from glorified cooldown to a memorable vista.

As an increasing number of classic acts move on from what first propelled them to success, worship outfits are gaining steam in the metal zeitgeist. From Hellripper to Xoth, it’s hard to begrudge bands for paying homage so directly when the quality of their output is so damn strong. Vinsta Wiads houses a latent beauty, from its acoustic interludes to its warm bass presence, that could be absolutely killer if harnessed to its full potential. Even if only for those among us praying for Mikael to growl again, Vinsta has a role to play.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Trollmusic
Websites: vinsta.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/vinstawiads
Releases Worldwide: August 25th, 2017

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  • jjohn

    I approve of the pipe…

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      NO ONE CAN GO BALLS OUT WITH PANOPTICON. NO ONE.

  • WhamBamSam

    Wait, who are Xoth paying homage to? There are certainly influences you can point to, but they strike me as being very much their own tentacled beast.

    Spot on about this band though. This is a very close second to Still Life for “Album That Sounds Most Like Still Life.” Quality Opeth puns too.

    • Dr. Wvrm

      That line about smashing Barbie dolls faces together? I imagine Tentacube was recorded by getting two of those giant inflatable tube men, the ones they have outside car dealerships, fitting one in a Skeletonwitch t and the other in a Vektor shirt, and bashing their permanently jolly faces together.

      • WhamBamSam

        I guess. They still strike me as having more to them though. Maybe if you adjoined a third tube man repping late-period Death and set up a small nacho stand using power metal cheese next to the resulting abomination.

  • welyyt

    This is the second time in two days you guys name-dropped Hellripper; does that mean I should go listen to them?

    • WhamBamSam

      Yes. I’m not a black metal guy really at all, but Coagulating Darkness is my AotY up to this point.

    • Dr. Wvrm

      Yes.

    • Here’s Johnny

      Hellripper, Cnoc An Tursa and Saor, Scotland is becoming a good place for black metal.

      • sir_c

        Cnoc an Tursa sounds more like some interesting whisky I should try.

    • Yes please :)

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    That cover looks like the front of my Mom’s daily devotional.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Try pulling the old switcheroo on her.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        She’s 74……she’d never survive it.

        • Master of Muppets

          Congratulations, I have to clean coffee off of roughly everything in sight now.

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        No, no, the old switcheroo is you poison your drink then you switch it with the other person’s.

        • Master of Muppets

          New switcheroo it is, then.

          • Brutalist_Receptacle

            No, no, no. That is when you reprogram all the buttons of their Christian radio stations, see if he changes them back. You know? The NEW switcheroo.

          • Master of Muppets

            It’s a switcheroo of some sort dammit

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          Erm……I do love my Mom.

          • Brutalist_Receptacle

            SO DO WE ALL. LOVE YOUR MOM.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            Didn’t we have this discussion before. ….

          • Brutalist_Receptacle

            WE ARE ALWAYS HAVING THIS DISCUSSION. THE ONE ABOUT YOUR MOM.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            She is quite popular apparently.

        • HeavyMetalHamster
          • basenjibrian

            Sexy!

  • Master of Muppets

    Excellent review as always, O Wyrmy One. Furthermore, this sounds like exactly the type of music I live for during this time of year, I can usually be found traipsing through the trees to tunes acoustic and trve until the ice and snow reclaim the land.
    And Pillorian, of course. I’m so fucking excited to take that album for a spin one of these upcoming Autumn nights.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Pillorian is definitely a great find for me….thanks to you.
      I can do without the ice and snow here in Ontario though. …

      • Master of Muppets

        O Northern neighbor, mine Mainer ears hear thy despair whilst my heart and hands feel thy icy pain. Tis the season for mittens and melancholic melodeath, but we gonna make it yo.

        • thornh

          NH here. About to order some Deathwish Pumpkin coffee and get ready for October, the best damn month of the year.

          • Dr. Wvrm

            MA for me. I got my first 12 can of Pumpkinhead yesterday. It’s exciting times around these parts :D

          • Serjien

            I recall when these pumpkin ales first came around and I never got the hype about them. I will take an IPA over them any time. And cheers, fellow masshole!

          • Master of Muppets

            Absolutely. Some sick part of me enjoys the cold to a degree, I have some fucking amazing playlists for this time of year. Winter is coming, I say bring it.

          • basenjibrian

            Yes! Although “winter” means 55 and rain here. After a summer of triple digit heat waves and smoke covering my entire state, I am so looking forward to November.

          • Master of Muppets

            Sounds like Florida… I was stationed there for a few years, and the few ‘winters’ I experienced there were a trip after growing up in New England. Anywhere that doesn’t experience snow needs to just suck it up and accept that they only experience 3 or fewer seasons. If you can’t look in your driveway and tell exactly where you’ve stepped, it’s not winter.
            Edit: sounded like Florida until the reference to smoke set in. No idea where you’re at, but hopefully it’s not on fire.

          • basenjibrian

            Northern California. The fires are not even all that close to me, but it has been smoky here for a month due to fires in the foothills and Oregon. Plus, we have had three major heat waves. It was 111 in SAN FRANCISCO yesterday. Almost unprecedented. And heat waves mean high pressure bubbles, which trap all the smoke and urban pollution.

            worst summer since 2008, to be honest. Plus, I broke my collar bone five weeks ago, so I cannot even do my normal outdoor cycling even if the weather was better!

          • basenjibrian

            I would still say we have four distinct seasons. They are just completely different than continental climate seasons. winter= 55 degrees and rain, with serious snow (in a good year) in the mountains. Spring= green and wildflowers. Summer = dry as dust, and temperatures that can vary by 40 degrees depending exactly where one is. Fall =cooler, rain CAN start, amazing color in the vineyards.

          • Master of Muppets

            None of that sounds fun, be safe and stop breaking bones, m’ dude. Hopefully you at least have a killer soundtrack to all of that nonsense. Probably no Alice in Chains, but hopefully sweet tunes nonetheless.

          • Serjien

            MA here and I couldn’t agree more!

          • Dr. Wvrm

            Merrimack Valley what up.

          • Serjien

            Holy shit, what s up neighbor!? haver hill in tha house!

          • Dr. Wvrm

            Are you Rob Zombie?

          • Serjien

            Zombie maybe, def. not a Rob!

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          Only good thing about winter…..hockey.

          • Master of Muppets

            Nah, it’s the perfect backdrop for Katatonia, Doom: VS, Draconian, and so many others. Dig deep, let your hate keep you warm enough to enjoy of deep winter sadness.

      • basenjibrian

        It was 111 F where I live in California this afternoon. A little bit of ice and snow would be nice right now! And unlike a normal day, you cannot even escape it by driving to the coast. It was 96 in MONTEREY this afternoon (they are normally lucky to see 75).
        Heck. Even Seattle will reach 100 this week!

  • Baltech

    Austrian dialect metal, I’d never thought I’d see the day… (Vinsta Wiads means “it’s getting dark” just FYI)

    • Dr. Wvrm

      What do “Vinsta” and “Wiads” mean on their own? I ran into a lot of confusion whether the name of this album was “Wiads” or “Vinsta Wiads.” I saw that line you’d mentioned and figured “Wiads” was the “it’s getting” and “Vinsta” was “dark.” Who is going to name their band “It’s Getting?”

      • Baltech

        Vinsta = dialect for Finster = dark or dusk. Wiads = dialect for “wird es” = it is getting. So, “it’s getting dark”. The sentence structure may seem a bit muddled due to dialect. (region of Salzburg btw). You could also transliterated as “darkness approaches”. Isn’t the band name Vinsta and the album Vinsta Wiads?

        • Master of Muppets

          Australia is too busy making the best metal to be bothered with making sense.

          • The_Martus

            That’s true, just don’t confuse your Austrians and your Australians…

          • Master of Muppets

            Good God, how did no one catch that til now? No master of maps, I.

      • herrschobel

        it´s Vinsta which is dark in Austria…..wiads = ‘ es wird’ austrian dialect..wiad scho wieda oida …. tough i hate young guys smoking pipes…pretentious bullshit at large

      • Tini

        There seems to be some confusion regarding the album title. If you go to trollmusic’s page, you’ll see that it’s “Vinsta Wiads” (= it’s getting dark) and the band name is Vinsta (= dark). Dunno why it’s listed as “Wiads” on some pages…

        • Baltech

          GMusic lists the record as “Wiads” also

    • thornh

      My favorite Austrian band is Heathen Foray. I know some of their songs are in Austrian but not sure which dialect.

      • Baltech

        Styrian. Can’t really say if upper or lower but I tend towards lower.

  • wayne the devil

    it’s Opethian, to be sure, but that’s okay since Opeth has become No-pethian…on a prog note sice I am doodling, Subterranean Masquerade
    has a new one out…pretty good. They cover Space Oddity…..take that No-peth

    • Master of Muppets

      No-peth and Folkpeth, two new favorite terms to accompany the Master’s own Oldpeth. Where the Opeth that was no longer is, really any of these are more appropriate monikers to utilize than the “correct” one.
      Also, currently streaming this and it most certainly scratches that pesky Blackwater itch I’ve had for years.

  • Joshua Walker

    After listening to the first couple songs, it is going to be hard to keep this out of my year end top 10. Thanks for the review, doctor!

  • herrschobel

    oh that pipe !…yes you are a serious young man ..that´s for sure…

    • RuySan

      Pipes and scooters… And no wonder why youngsters don’t listen to metal any more

    • Master of Muppets

      Eh. I don’t necessarily flaunt my pipe bearing ways to this extent, but music and appearance-wise if this guy were blonde he’d be me. Books and covers and all that. Well, most of the time. I stand by my damnation of Septicflesh’s wardrobe dysfunction.

      • Nukenado

        Septicflesh are actually a team of superheroes at night. Think Jem and the Holograms crossed with Metalocaplyse and Kamen Rider.

      • herrschobel

        Well I am more of a sewer rat and those long haired pretty boys with pipes are my natural enemies ;-)

        • Master of Muppets

          We’re friends if I say we are and that’s that.

          • herrschobel

            Sweet !

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      LVNG CANCER!

    • sir_c

      We are looking at a young Gandalf here, pondering where all the hobbits went

      • flaming_froghurt

        He should start looking at Isengard.

  • I consider myself an Opeth fan, but I have no idea what “capping chord riffs with the patented double/triple chug accent” means. Can you give an example?

    • Dr. Wvrm

      2:10 on the embedded track is what I was referring to there. It stuck out as Opethian when I heard it the first time and in side listens I caught it on stuff from Barren Earth as well. Ghost came to mind specifically for how they dumbed it down on “Spirit.” Opeth plays it faster and less deliberately that Vinsta does. The Leper Affinity comes to mind.

  • Between the Opeth puns, that pipe, and the actual music, this review is the best!

  • This is what Heritage was supposed to sound like before Åkerfeldt’s soul was devoured by Steve Wilson.

  • Thatguy

    Too folky for me..and that pipe!

  • Lithophyte

    Sponsored by Austrian hair product: Naturkosmetik Shampoo mit Schafmolke. They cropped the scooter out of the photo, which is a great shame. And the schaf

  • Gosh, you’re right. It’s ever so Opethy. Thing is, there are so many mid-period Opeth albums to return to that I don’t feel the need for this.

  • Serjien

    I don’t mind that this sounds like old Opeth. I love old Opeth, so it’s a win win in my book.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    I don’t think you’re allowed to say Opeth so many times in a review and give it a 3.0. I’m going to report you to management.

  • h_f_m

    I had to go retrieve my smoking jacket from the armoire before spinning this. Capital!

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    I thought you were exaggerating about the Opeth similarities, but when that embedded track started, I could’ve sworn I put on The Leper Affinity by mistake.

  • Brian Kelly

    The embedded song definitely rips off opeth in every way possible, since opeth themselves may not go back to this type, maybe these new bands are needed, sort of, as replacements, but maybe listening to a whole cd of this would just get annoying or make you angry, if everything is this much opeth-identical. Especially when this song isn’t just in the vein of opeth but basically mashes up a few, or several, opeth songs together, with barely changing the sound at all. It’s as if you used a computer program to extract out 7-8 1 minute sections directly from opeth songs and put them together.

  • The Howling Wolf

    I came to listen to this music that sound similar to Opeth, since the band don’t do progressive death anymore.