Review Summary: A sizeable step up once again, Vinter increases the aggression of Feared's sound and builds on all of the successes of their last album to produce an entertaining groove/death romp.
Feared's material quality seems to have increased in an entirely linear fashion since their self-titled debut. While that album ultimately possessed many of the characteristics of their later material, it was quite clearly a fairly mediocre album held back by uninteresting songwriting and excessive predictability. Rejects
appropriately increased the attack and focus of the prior album, being altogether catchier and more professional, but not significantly better. Furor Incarnatus
made a fairly large step towards a more coherent and entertaining form of songwriting. Vinter appropriately serves as a transition from that album which mostly rests on the once again streamlined sound of the band with some added aggression and melody; as such, it's easily the best album they've produced so far.
As with the last few Feared albums, no really blatant change has occurred to the band's relatively straightforward groove/death metal style, but little tweaks and improvements are evident. The vocals and lyrics are still just as dumb and angry as ever, but the guitar attack is sharpened, more technical, and more atmospheric, the bass is more evident in the mix, and the drums are at their most natural sounding (thanks to the presence of Kevin Talley and Jocke Skog in addition to the usual Ola and Mario). Ola's leads also take another step up; his solo on Mass Destruction
follows a much more technical line akin to that of a Jeff Loomis lead, and elsewhere his leads retain their expressive quality without being as predictable as on prior albums. The overall improvements in songwriting also translate to much more consistency in quality. While the last album lapsed on some songs quite dramatically, there is no loss of steam and pace for the whole of the album, which is impressive here given the clear shifts from groovier tracks like Hate Is Everything
and more melodic ones like Huldra
It's not surprising that Vinter serves as an appropriate step up from Furor Incarnatus
, but one can't help but be pleased that Feared has kept their upwards curve in quality going. With the added aggression compared to their prior works, this one is likely to be the best lasting of their releases.
Hate Is Everything