Review Summary: Riffy soundtrack to blast while travelling to the battlefield!
Fester was a death metal band from Norway that formed in 1989. Winter of Sin was their first full-length after a demo of the same name, they later on released one more album and disappeared for over a decade to later reform. Winter of Sin was released in 1992, while most bands in the area were beginning to turn to black metal Fester were pumping out music that could be considered blackened death metal in it's early stages. This is one of those records that has a major crossover capability. Fans of death metal, doom metal, and black metal can all find something to enjoy within the contents of Winter of Sin.
Picture an old school death metal release with a pinch of doom and the raspy vocals that black metal has become known for and you have Winter of Sin. It is hard to compare this album to any others that were out at the time because it honestly has it's own sound. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that this album is far ahead of it's time. Winter of Sin also has one of the most epic sounds to ever grace a death metal record around this time. The band sits comfortably at a mid pace churning out nice, groovy riffs with some memorable leads being sprinkled in throughout.
The fretwork on Winter of Sin is reasonably simple. The album is jam-packed with crushing riffs. The heavier moments on the album hit like haymakers due to the punch the bass adds to the overall sound. There are a few odd moments on this album that definitely make it standout. The most notable would be the solo on "Victory!!!" which features a nice little solo that is backed by a clean melody, the melody slowly builds up as the solo winds down. This track is definitely a highlight for me and Fester does extremely well on this triumphant sounding songs. Moments like this keep things exciting throughout the entire record. All the tracks range from very close to well over five minutes in length, the band manages to get through the lengthy tracks without dragging even a bit.
This release is also very bass dominant. This element adds a very chunky sound to Winter of Sin that adds to the already doom-laden sound the band displays. It is great to hear the bass throughout the entire release and it adds quite a bit of depth to the sound. Bass is something that many death metal records lack and it is quite a breath of fresh air to hear it so clearly here. Skjolden was a great bass player and sadly he passed back in 2000.
Overall Winter of Sin is one of the most interesting releases in death metal from this era. When listening it is truly hard to believe that this is such an unsung classic. This is highly recommended to fans of extreme metal in general. Yet another example of Norway having more to offer than just the classic lineup of black metal bands that the country has become known for. This sits nice next to bands like Molested, Cadaver, Thou Shalt Suffer and Darkthrone's debut album. Jam it!!!