Vintersorg // Orkan
Rating: 4.5/5.0 — Hits you like a hurricane… Get it?
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: facebook.com/vintersorganic
Release Dates: EU: 2012.06.29 | US: 07.10.2012

Vintersorg - OrkanLast year when Vintersorg released Jordpuls I wasn’t expecting that 15 months later I’d be writing another review of a new Vintersorg record. While Andreas is known for his unusual artistic fecundity, new Vintersorg records have slowed down a lot after the release of the majestic Cosmic Genesis. But earlier this year, Matte Marklund (the guitar player) showed up on the Internetz and said something surprising: there was a new record on the way, hot on the heels of Jordpuls, and it would be called Orkan which means “Hurricane.” In fact, the reason I’m writing this 15 months later is simply because the label wasn’t ready for one 8 months later! But also, more importantly even, that this record is the second of a four part series being based on the classical elements. Jordpuls was earth (and awesome), and Orkan is air—and next? Fire. But, let’s talk about “the now” first.

Starting out the gate with progressive strains “Istid,” the non-linear melodies were what really caught me off guard. But once it gets going, it launches into a fantastic chorus and settles into the keyboard sounds and the drum machine that we all as Vintersorg fans are very comfortable with. Structurally speaking, Orkan pounds through the strains of what we’ve come to expect from Vintersorg in latter days; melodic tracks with progressive bits interspersed and black metal vocals over Mattias’ trem-picked guitars and creative, melodic guitar solos. Under that, the bass tends to bubble along, sometimes sounding a little lost or wandering, but always ultimately adding that needed low end. What Orkan succeeds best at, however, are the epic choruses, which are written to perfection; hooky, fun and often times beautiful. Orkan, unlike its predecessor which many complained about, is also produced perfectly for what the guys are going for here; raw, but balanced and trying to sound as natural as possible when the music is only being produced by two guys.

Mattias and Andreas 2012 - by Björn FredrikssonBut Orkan isn’t just a clone of Jordpuls or its predecessor Solens rötter. In fact, it reminds me more of Cosmic Genesis and Ödemarkens son mixed together with Jordpuls. However, it’s hard for me to say it’s better than its predecessor because the sounds are similar with the difference being that Orkan seems almost more inspired and the songwriting is especially beautiful and well-crafted this time around. I fell in love immediately with “Ur stjärnstoft är vi komna” and the mighty “Polarnatten”. Both of these songs are 7 minutes plus and just reel listeners in and create beautiful, epic vocal landscapes, while underpinning the tracks with audial eddys of flute and keyboards whose textures fill out the feel of the songs immensely. The latter even closes out with harmonized, NWoBHM guitars that are fairly novel in the Vintersorg sound. Those two tracks, along with the more subdued closing track “Urvädersfången” are three of the longest tracks Vintersorg has ever produced—the longest since Cosmic Genesis actually and they feel uniquely inspired and thoughtful.

This is not to say that the shorter tracks on the record aren’t also excellent. Title track “Orkan” is epic, reaching back towards Till fjälls era Vintersorg in feel, while “Myren” reminds me a lot of “Klippor och skär” from Jordpuls, starting out with the plucked strings that kind of feel like “In the Hall of the Mountain King”. “Norrskenssyner,” a sequel to Hedniskhjärtads “Norrskensdrömmar” even features Cia Hedmark’s first appearance on a Vintersorg related record in ages. And all these songs are magically magical—just like a Vintersorg record should be, helping to build out the whole and work as an album should. Orkan should be listened to from front to back every time.

So basically, I guess what I’m saying is: once again, you should buy the new Vintersorg record. Orkan continues Andreas and Mattias’ excellent career with some of the best songs they’ve ever produced. While I still feel like some of the keyboard work is a bit busy and that the bass and drums could use other instrumentalists (like Aesgir Mickelsen and Steve Digiorgio), I am so stoked about the future of Vintersorg‘s music. Orkan‘s music is truly as powerful as the gorgeous art on its cover. It has never happened before that someone has the chance to make my Top 10 album list twice, but between Urd and Orkan, Hedlund is working on being the first. Now bring on the fire!

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  • EntombeD

    In the middle of the first paragraph, in the sentence: “here was a new record on the way, right on the heals of Jordpuls,” “heals” should be corrected to “heels”.

  • harley_d68

    I could not agree more.  This is an awesome album. 

    My review will post tomorrow at That Devil Music, and I swear I didn’t read your’s first – I made a Hall of the Mountain King reference too!

  • I didnt even know there was a new album on the way!  Day = Made

  • ’tis another excellent release from an excellent, prolific duo. The vocal melodies never fail to catch my attention.

  • great year for Vintersorg. Borknagar’s Urd is an excellent record, and Orkan sounds… well, good!

    Asgeir Mickelsson is on his way to become a professional poker player, and sadly quit his work as a drummer, due to lack of passion for playing. Now he’s focusing on his producing job for Vortex’s new band. His work in Borknagar’s Empiricism remains as his pounding, cymbal-flashing legacy!

  • Zadion

    Great review, and I’m EVEN MORE excited now (if that was possible)! It sounds like Orkan is a more cohesive whole compared to its two predecessors; “Klippor och skär” was a huge highlight of Jordpuls, and “Döpt i en jökelsjö” from Solens rötter. While both good albums otherwise, those two were glaringly excellent standouts.

    Regardless, Mr. V is looking to be one of the best musicians of our generation.

  • Just heard one song, the titular one that is on youtube, sounds quite nice. Jordpuls was a great piece of music and it seems Orkan is a nice follow-up. Seems we have many good options for music spending this month. Thanks for the review AMG.

  • OzanCan

    Jordpuls was awesome and I am sure (by the review as well) this record is also far removed from any kind of disappointment.
    June’s Record of the Month definitely!

  • f u for listening to this while I can’t, thank you for an awesome review, and f u again for making me so excited for this album.. I CAN’T WAIT!

  • Just got the album yesterday! I’ve listened once so far and was very surprised! It’s far more different from Jordpuls than I expected. It feels like one of the darkest Vintersorg records released in a long time. I’m very excited to dig into it more.