Review Summary: Lunn’s ascension into the black metal hierarchy continues with one of 2011’s most gritty
For those familiar with Austin Lunn’s previous work, Seidr should come as no surprise. The Southern-tinged doom metal work For Winter Fire
slowly but surely reveals itself as one of the year’s most hard-hitting, even when genre tags are disregarded. While the surface displays an album ripe with melancholy and grit, below the surface Seidr masterfully layers nuances and effects that serve to heighten the deliberate, detailed performance. The production value of the album is more refined than past Seidr works like Blood In The Soil
, but the unrelenting album never loses its tenacity or rough charm because of it.
Much has been said about the album’s birthplace and its effect on the music, but I would argue that there isn’t as much a clear-cut touchstone between the tracks as some paint Kentucky to be. Between the acoustic guitars, fleeting harmonies, and echoing riffs, Seidr carves a little slice of metal it can call its own. Perhaps more so than any other trend or album this year in this realm, For Winter Fire
is self-contained. As lengthy and grueling as it is, there’s never a sense of stagnation because of Lunn’s natural ability to drift seamlessly between grittier segments, melancholic calm sections, and gnashing riffs. This should come as no surprise to listeners of Austin Lunn’s previous projects, Panopticon and Agnosis, which show his natural aptitude for creative songwriting. For Winter Fire
displays this ability coming to full fruition, serving to propel the album forward with very deliberate pacing that buttresses the inky atmosphere.
This being said, the real appeal of For Winter Fire
lies in the melding of styles and elements into a surprisingly cohesive work-- one that doesn’t rely on banalities but rather utilizes them to their full potential. Take, for instance, the funeral doom-esque barrenness of “In The Ashes” that mixes in more traditional metal elements. For Winter Fire
is the best type of melting pot-- a latent melting pot that doesn’t reveal itself easily. From the reverberating soundscapes of highlight “A Gaze At The Stars” to the heave-ho chanting of aptly titled “Sweltering,” Seidr’s consistency in atmosphere and flow is astounding throughout For Winter Fire
With a heavy, 70-minute runtime in tow, the LP is a looming figure that may at first appear to be constrained by monotony. It helps that the longer, double-digit-minute tracks are tacked on the beginning and end, underpinned by shorter pieces in the center. Still though, I find instead that the repetition of thematics and sheer, desolate forcefulness of For Winter Fire
reinforces its vigor as opposed to hindering it. Again, it goes to show that Austin Lunn’s creativity has gave life to another work that propels him ahead of most of his peers in the black metal realm; and from the consistency of For Winter Fire
, he has no plans to forfeit his place near the front of the pack anytime soon.