Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Music Review - Vardoger - Whitefrozen

This is one of those albums that's really stuck with me over the years. Though it's Vardoger's only release, it is a brilliant EP that shows a mastery of the folk/viking/black metal genre.

This is definitely one of the more unique albums I've heard; the drums play weird rhythms, the songs are structured weirdly and the vocals are just plain odd sounding. This isn't an experimental, schizophrenic album though; it just employs non-standard methods to achieve it's atmosphere of unease, cold landscapes and occasional uplifting moments.

The instruments are handled brilliantly, especially the bass; bass doesn't usually do too much in a black metal band but this is one release I wouldn't want to listen to without the bass. Kudos to the band for using the bass guitar so well on this EP. The rest of the instruments are also equally well used. The guitar has a good, heavy, strong tone, the keyboards are used perfectly and add some amazing atmospheric touches. The drums, like I said above, are a big part of the music here, playing odd beats, folk rhythms and actually adding to the feel of the music. Blastbeats and fast double bass aren't even touched upon here, and for that I give the band a tip of the hat. Playing viking/black metal without blastbeats and double bass is something I've rarely seen.

The best part of this EP though is how authentic the viking/folk atmosphere is. There's not a lot of folk instruments used (there's some brief violin and flute used) but this EP sounds more viking/folk than almost any other release I've heard in the scene.

Highlights for this album are the title track, composed of entirely clean chanting vocals alongside some brilliant lead guitar and "Footprints of Thunder", with it's clean vocal chorus and somber and mournful folk atmosphere. This is an obscure release, but if you can find it, do yourself a favor and pick it up. "Whitefrozen" is a terrific viking/folk/black metal release that rises above the crowded scene and really carve out their own unique sound.

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