Cor Scorpii - Attergangar
Gaute Refsnes - Keyboards
Rune Sjøthun - Rhythm Guitars
Stian Bakketeig - Lead Guitars
Thomas S. Øvstedal - Vocals
Inge Jonny Lomheim - Bass Guitars
Jørn Holen - Drums
From the ashes of Windir
, arise Cor Scorpii
. After the tragic death of Valfar
(R.I.P.), the other members of Windir found it best to lay the band to rest with him. Several months after his passing, Gaute Refsnes
decided to assemble a new band. He enlisted the help of Stian Bakketeig and Jørn Holen
, former bandmates, and filled the rest of the holes of the lineup with unknown Norwegian musicians. Attergangar
is a four song demo released in the final days of 2005, and is Cor Scorpii's only recorded material thus far. Judging from this demo, it is obvious that Cor Scorpii are going to become one of the top bands of the Folk/Viking Metal
world, as the legendary status of the three founding members is clearly apparent on this demo.
Due to the short length of this demo (23:06), I'll just be doing a shorter pros and cons review. The music found on Attergangar is a largely guitar oriented affair. Very similar to many of Windir's material, this is definately a guitar based outfit. And a very talented one at that. The guitars on Attergangar are phenomenal. No riff is too extremely technical, but the playing is always tight, precise, and tasteful. Ranging from fast tremolo picking, to heavy riffing, to melodic leads, Stian and his new recruit Rune
hold the band together with some of the best guitar playing you will ever hear on a Viking Metal
album. Though I hate to have to compare Cor Scorpii to Windir so much, it's inevitable, as the two bands are so closely intwined that an obvious similarity is bound to happen. And it does. The guitars still have that dreamy sound about them, and they even break out into the crazy, pseudo carnival riff style that was made ever so popular in Windir (think the final minutes of The Blacksmith And Troll Of Lundamyri
) on the last two tracks. The Key playing in Windir was never at the forefront of the music, but was always used to great effect minimally to create the epic sound they were known for. Well, the playing remains largely the same, save for it being even a little bit less in the foreground. It is mostly used only as a backup to the music, and rarely ventures out for a solo. I like them this way very much, as it is one of the few things that defines Cor Scorpii as something other than just Windir with a different vocalist. Which brings me to the vocals. A newcomer to the music scene, Thomas
handles himself in fine fashion. He may not be Valfar, but both his clean and harsh vocals are very well done. Nothing spectacular, but incredibly solid. The music, much like it was in Windir, stays at a very fast pace at all times, never taking a break. This does not, as it does in many cases, equal a boring listen though, not by any means. The songs are all between five and six minutes long, all jam packed with upwards of seven riffs per song. That's right, five minute songs featuring near ten riffs to a song. The music is played out in an ever changing style, never going back to a riff once it has been played through once, so don't expect anything along the lines of choruses and verses. I really like this style, as it keeps the songs amazingly fresh throughout, and allows them to feel like twenty minute epics, when in reality they are normal lengthed.
There are very few downsides to this demo, and none of them are glaringly obvious, the only one that is being the obvious similarity to Windir. It is not to the point that it's a ripoff, but anyone listening to Cor Scorpii can easily tell that the band is the successor to the throne of Windir. The only real flaws on this album musically would have to come from the rhythm department. Both the Bass and Drumming are done very solidly, and the bass is even well heard, but neither of them really do anything outstanding. They do not detract anything from the music, but they do not add much either. Also, I have to mention that the short playing time is definately a con. Yes, it is a demo, and is actually a very generous length for one, but by the time Nar Enden Er God
(the best track of the demo) is done playing, you begin to really wish there was more to it.
The atmosphere created is much like that of Windir, grandiose, but to a much lesser extent. On Fall Of Man and Attergangar
, the Keys are barely heard at all, and only appear in the form of a Piano on Transcendental Journey
(apart from the symphonic intro). On Nar Enden Er God though, they do take a much more prominant role as Choirs back the music up beautifully. Though the keys are used very sparingly, they are used very tastefully, and always make the music that much better. The array of different voices is nice too, as you'll get to hear Pianos, Trumpets, Choirs, Sci Fi sounding noises, Symphonies, and many others. The Guitars, though, are what really make the atmosphere on this album. That dreamy style that was ever so popular in Windir is back, and in full force. The riffing on Nar Enden Er God will leave a swirling scar in your head as it 'floats' on towards the end of the demo.
So, How Much Does This Sound Like Windir?
Well, this is the big question when it comes to Cor Scorpii. The answer is quite a bit. It is a given that when you take the main musicians from a band to create a new one, that the new one is going to sound a lot like the old one. The only noticeable differences lie in the more aggressive Guitar playing, the less up front Keys, and, of course, the new Vocalist. Does Thomas match up to Valfar? Of course not, no one ever will, but what Thomas does do is an incredible job, and I think that he is worthy to be the spiritual successor to Valfar. Although I've made it seem like this is just Windir reincarnate, you cannot go into the demo expecting
Windir, as there are
differences in sound, and of course they are not quite as good as Windir. With time, though, I think Cor Scorpii have a chance at becoming just as good as Windir, once they have a few albums out and have more time to play with each other and develop their own sound a bit.
One of the best debuts I've heard in a long while, Cor Scorpii have made it clear that they will be a name to remember with this demo. I could easily see them becoming as big as Windir in time, and with good reason. When I first heard of the band, I really had grim expectations as I thought they were nothing without Valfar, but they have definately proven me wrong with Attergangar. An excellent cd for fans of fast paced, melodic, aggressive metal.
Short Pros And Cons
A bit too similar to Windir
Unoriginal rhythm department
Nar Enden Er God