Review Summary: Vinterbris seem all too ready to break out in the black metal scene with their sophomore effort.
Vinterbris are hardly new on the scene, their first EP "The Unrested" came out in 2010 to little fanfare and is rather difficult to track down. Since then, however, the band have been picked up by a label, released a promising self titled debut and have been quietly working away at their sophomore effort, "Solace" - an effort which I only found by chance after the phenomenal artwork (made by the one and only Kim Holm) caught my eye whilst surfing through Bandcamp. I hadn't heard much about young acts emerging from Norway for a while and so, noticing these guys came from Bergen, the black metal capital of Norway, I decided to give them a shot. The gamble paid off.
This release is as beautiful and melodic as it is heavy and relentless. The musicianship here is glorious, with some fantastic guitar riffs (and audible bass - a rarity in underground BM) complemented by throat shredding vocal work and tight, if unoriginal, drum work. The integration of acoustic guitars, particularly in opener "Dysphoria" and "Gazing at a Fallen Sky", is flawless and allows for the melody to fully shine through. This isn't just another black metal album full of blastbeats and tremolo riffing. There is some first class musicianship here.
One of the pitfalls here is that it's not long enough - you're left wanting more. Yes all the tracks are generally in the 5-8 minute time range but I can't help feel that a few more tracks to push it towards the 9 or 10 track mark, perhaps closer to an hour than the mere 36 minutes here, would allow for a powerful and more varied full length. Parts of the tracks kinda merge together at times here but as a young band, this can be forgiven as they develop their songwriting further and hopefully push themselves to create a true masterpiece in the near future.
Overall, fans of black metal will love this and should definitely give it a listen. The production is clear and gives all the instruments a chance to be heard, the songwriting is tight and magnificently performed even if there is a lack of variety, and this album is a statement of intent from a band that's all too ready to break out into the global black metal scene.
Recommended Tracks: "Dysphoria" and "Gazing at a Fallen Sky"