Review Summary: Vintersorg shows his development as an artist on this record and brings together all of the best elements from his early folk work to his later avant garde projects.
Vintersorg's evolution as an artist shows on this album.
Solens Rotter is a slight shift in style for Vintersorg, as his previous albums were strongly progressive metal and contained a majority of English lyrics, while this newest album is condensation of his early Folk style and the shift towards progressive metal, as well as his first completely Swedish-language album since 1999. Folk elements are definitely present and generally give the album even more of a melodic, beautiful sound only working to complete Mr. V's voice. Other than that those expecting "Nordic Folk Metal Comeback of the year" or "Till Fjalls 2" you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised by Vintersorg's ability to keep each release fresh sounding. I found the use of the Folk and Acoustic music makes the album more accessible for newcomers, unlike Visions from the Spiral. Also noticeable are the flutes and stringed backing sections, and as far as overall production this is one of Mr V's best efforts yet and everything from the guitar to the harsh vocals sounds really clean and the whole album meshes nicely.
Instrumentally, Solens Rotter also lives up to the Vintersorg name -- some of the best guitar riffs I have heard yet are present, and although it's a different album you can still hear that trademark Vintersorg sound fans love. Drumming was originally supposed to be performed by (Vintersorg side project) Fission member Benny Harklund, but due to timing constraints drums were instead programmed by Vintersorg himself. Any difference between live drums and programmed really isn't noticeable, however, especially to a non-drummer like myself. Acoustic guitars and beautiful piano sections are also a personal favourite of mine on this album and if you are looking for something with a more folksy sound just check out 'The Temple of Ideas,' and listen to the beautiful strings in the background!
Another of the many factors that make up a good Vintersorg album are his trademark "epic" vocals -- I've always been a big fan of his singing and screaming voice and I think just like the production this is an area where the vocals have yet again improved and been fully optimized. Hence I've found myself really enjoying the acoustic sections his voice can be fully enjoyed, and even the screaming elements seem to have been toned down and used only when they possess a full impact. It's strange to find that because everything is so well-sung and accessible, even despite being in Swedish, I constantly find segments of tracks stuck in my head which are completely foreign to me. One aspect I'm glad to hear Vintersong carry over to his newest project is the usage of both his clean and harsh singing at the same time, with the latter providing backing vocals.
Though only Swedes (and those who read the translations at [a]http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/vintersorg/310189-solens-rotter-english-anywhere.html[/a]) may enjoy them, the lyrics are a great read, with songs dedicated to Da Vinci and Marie Curie. Some of my favourite sections include lines like, "A thought builds new patterns / The Universe lies hidden in the thought / It opens closed gates and windows / And found its path is that which we have already forgotten" -- you wont find any metal cliches here!
My only personal issue with the album itself really is the language barrier, but that's only something minor and is made up for by the quality of this album which is quickly becoming one of my favourites this year! Both old and new Vintersorg fans will find a level of significant enjoyment in the new album, and the most important question may not be "Will it be as good as the rest of Vintersorg's albums?," but "Is this the best Vintersorg album yet?" Only time will tell but I can say I've listened to this every single day since I purchased it.
Vintersorg appears to be the busiest man ever at the moment so in between studying to be a teacher I expect at least two new albums out before the end of the year.