Review Summary: Horribly underrated '09 Black Metal
It is always a great tragedy when a integral member of a legendary band passes on to the next life. What can most times make this even worse, is when the passing is sudden and seemingly comes out of the blue. This is the kind of death that can be said about Windir main man Valfar, who in 2004 perished due to an instense case of hypothermia, leaving behind a spectacular legacy of creating some of the best folk influenced black metal to ever be heard. While Windir is now gone just as its frontman, ex-Windir lead guitarist Stian Bakketeig now leads a band who could very well fill the shoe's left by his old group, with his new folk black metal project Mistur. Their debut Attende
treads the same folk/viking influenced black metal as Windir, but even in it's young stages shows potential to surpass the former.
's overall success as an album can no doubt be attributed to its being an extremely dynamic record. Throughout the entirety of the album, Mistur displays their skill of seamlessly combining different elements of folk, viking and black metal into mature, well-written tracks. For instance, second track "Svartsyn" begins as scathing 90's influenced black metal, later parts in the song start to include much more of a folk tone, especially during the bridge which features excellent atmospheric keyboard work and haunting female vocals. It does not stop there however, with track Armod
perfectly synchronizing a neo-classical piano lead over stand black metal dissonant guitar, then going into a Norse folk-inspired breakdown complete with lightly strummed acoustic guitars over melodic clean vocals courtesy of keyboardist Espen Bakketeig. Each song features its own quirks, whether it be the aforementioned tracks or any other of the five songs on the album.
The musicianship on Attende
is also a paramount factor in what makes the album so enjoyable. Mistur while not going overboard, bring a much more technical approach to their style of black metal. Guitarists André Raunehaug and Stian Bakketeig do an exceptional job of balancing out harsh guitar lines against, softer interludes, such as in title track Attende
where tremolo picked guitar lines seamlessly transition to clean strummed guitar and then back. Stian Bakketeig in particular stands out with several songss incorporating smooth, fluid neo-classical solos, a rarity in black metal. Drummer Kenneth Mellum also does a fantastic job, going from insane blast-beats in some songs, to slower paced almost progressive influenced drum-lines in others. Vocally, lead singer Odne has a more mid ranged rasped as opposed to the genre high pitched vocal standard, but it still fits the music all the same. While his vocals are nothing great in particular, they are still adequate and do not detract from the quality of the music whatsoever. While each member greatly contributes on Attende
, keyboardist Espen Bakketeig's playing definitely stands out above the rest. His playing throughout the album is impeccable, with it be the background atmospherics on Skoddefjellet
, the synth break on Svartsyn
or even the lead piano on Armod
. Also, he is responsible for the wonderful clean vocals on the record, which instead are instead of the usually deep voiced chants, a higher ranged, possibly even hard rock voice that surprisingly suits the music very well.
is an album that should be looked into by anyone who was a fan of Windir. While the band shares similarities, Mistur even on their debut are on the verge of becoming a classic group in their own right. Attende
shows the band only in the finest light, a light that even the departed Valfar would be proud of to have been shining on him.