Windir
1184


4.5
superb

Review

by A.K. USER (66 Reviews)
June 27th, 2007 | 117 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Immense energy, above average lyrics, and the best blend of folk viking and black metal around.

Windir formed in the early 90s in Sogndal, Norway. The band was originally a solo project of Valfar, who hired session musicians for specific duties in studio like drums and lead guitar. It was with 1184 that the band Ulcus, whose bassist Valfar was neighbours with, joined Windir. 1184 marked the most well produced album by Windir to date, and proved that Valfar (who still wrote most of the songs with some help from Hvall) could consistently release amazing music. Unfortunately Windir would tragically end in January of 2004 with the death of Valfar at the young age of 25.

Regarding the death of Valfar, there are some lyrics on this album that perplex me. Take for instance the lyrics of Journey to the End -

A fate, a destiny,
an inevitable early death
Finally I'm dead,
And the vision is revealed for everyone else


The lyrics seem to have a retrospective quality, as if they were written after Valfar's death, even though this album was recorded in 2001. There are also numerous other examples that point to this -

Dying with sorrow not in hand,
Welcoming my gods, an equal I am,
A travel awaits before me,
Encircled as a God, dead as a man


While this lyrics obviously were unknowingly written by Valfar regarding his death three years later, it is almost scary how relevant they are to Windir as a band.

Now on to the music, the main focus for most people out there. Windir's music can be described as aggressive, folky, epic and very varied. The musical trademark of the lead guitar playing an arpeggio riff in the upper register is seen right away on Todeswalzer the opener. The fast tempo and basic tremelo rhythm guitar and double bass driven drums are also in true Windir style. This may all be very boring if it were done in a monotone and predictable fashion but there is much variation to be found. Clean vocals and harsh vocals are found on various songs, accordion is incorperated into the title track, a synth driven techno type section is found at the end of Journey to the End, and the chord progressions have some great unexpected direction. Windir is a band that you can have playing in the background for energy driven metal, but also a band that you can listen to for nuances that aren't obvious if you aren't paying attention like time signature and key signature changes.

Production is pretty much spot on. Guitars are edgy enough to sound heavy but not over distorted, drumming has good balance between snare, kick drum and cymbals. Bass is also suprisingly high in the mix for a metal band. It also plays considerably higher than most metal bands, playing on strings other than just the E String and contributing to the melodic and harmonic aspects of the music. Synths are mostly in the background barely heard and creating purely atmosphere. The exception to this is when there are synth only breaks during which the synths are naturally turned up higher in the mix. Vocals are also excellent, not overly loud or distorted but still harsh enough to drive the verses and choruses of the cd.

Musically the music is probably only moderately hard to play at best, but riffs like Todeswalzer's opening, Destroy's verse and Journey to the End prove that simple tremelo riffs can be far more than mediocre if set up correctly and arranged well. If you wish to hear a cd of immense emotional depth and energy then 1184 should be a cd that will become one of your all-time favorites. Many bands try to blend the folk influenced metal that Windir mastered but it is fair to say that none ever mastered it as well as Valfar. An excellent blend of black viking and folk metal, and a very original and refreshing album.

R.I.P.
Terje "Valfar" Bakken
1978 - 2004



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Shadows
Moderator
June 27th 2007


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's ashame so few are acquainted with, let alone in love with, Windir. Easily one of my all-time favorite black metal bands. Valfar made some incredible atmospheric stages that blended unusually technical playing for a black metal act, just like you said. Those weaving arpeggios blow me away every time. Even the more "traditional" black metal parts are beyond impressive with the folky elemts and Valfar's amazing voice.

It's sad he had to die so soon. He was basically a genious in his own right.

rattlehead42147
June 27th 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great work, great band.

Silenius
June 27th 2007


305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes, it is indeed tragic that he had to die at 25. Maybe if he had died from a drug overdose or something that he could control it would be a little less worse. The circumstances under which he died are just so fucking unfair. Definitely agree that he was a genius.

ValiumMan
June 27th 2007


493 Comments


Sounds interesting, I'll prolly check it out later but I'm not "in the mood" for black metal right now.
Good review too, but I don't see much of a "foresight" in the lyrics, cos about 80% of all black metal lyrics deal with death.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2007


16487 Comments


I want to check this out now, sounds like it'll be really good.

jrowa001
June 27th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

excellent excellent review. i loved the beginning, i never looked at the lyrics that way. im going to listen to this right now. windir were a great band, i need more of their stuff. only have this one and Likferd

Mikesn
Emeritus
June 27th 2007


3709 Comments


Interesting review.

Won't check this out though. Didn't like Arntor very much.

Epilogue
June 27th 2007


1601 Comments


Hmm...sounds good, I'll be checking it out.

rattlehead42147
June 27th 2007


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

how did valfar die?

chimera908
June 27th 2007


713 Comments


I need to check this out. I heard Valfar died when he was hiking to a cabin or somthing? Well anyway a snow storm came and he froze to death. However I think I heard that from wiki so I don't know if thats actually true. Horribly unfair way to go if it is true.This Message Edited On 06.27.07

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2007


16487 Comments


However I think I heard that from wiki so I don't know if thats actually true. Horribly unfair way to go if it is true.


That is true, he froze to death while hiking to his family's cabin. It gives the story on the band's website.

Angmar
June 27th 2007


2689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=mike]Interesting review.



Won't check this out though. Didn't like Arntor very much.[/quote]

:eek: How can you not like Arntor?!?!? Its the accordion isn't it :upset:

Good review. Like this album lots I do, may bump up my rating.

TheHamburgerman
June 27th 2007


1303 Comments


This album is so incredibly pale compared to Arntor. Where Arntor had those epic songs, filled with the most emotional and saddening melodies (take Saknet; 7:30 for example), this album seems more like the standard black metal. Dissonants that don't need to be there, lack of any epicness... or maybe this album is still good but is Arntor just the almighty black album ever...

pilumneer
June 27th 2007


41 Comments


These guys are cool.This Message Edited On 06.27.07

Silenius
June 27th 2007


305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think you can still find lots of good parts on this cd. The bridge of Destroy and Black new Age are rgeat, Journey to the End is great all the way through, and Todeswalzer is also way better than your average black metal song while using very basic riffing. The cd does have less folky elements than Arntor though, less clean vocals and acoustic parts.

TheHamburgerman
July 3rd 2007


1303 Comments


The bridge of Destroy and the intro of Todeswalser are the only worhty moments of the cd. It's sad that Windir went from the glorious Arntor to this dissapointment.

antihippy
September 8th 2007


696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is amazing.

so sad to hear that he died so young. and being frozen to death too. doesn't seem like a nice way to go.

BallsToTheWall
February 25th 2008


44805 Comments


I'd just like to say, Windir is a great band. This album is pretty rock.

Eliminator
February 25th 2008


2067 Comments


RIP BROTHER VALFAR


mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2008


17945 Comments


i'm pretty sure i downloaded this once

but then deleted it a few minutes later



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