Review Summary: a most romantic, Brittonic billet-doux to Windir
No king rules forever…
To be left like this, with the master gone…
No son, no man, no farm.
Who will now avenge Arntor the Proud,
Will the bloodline ever reclaim its honor?
So begins Windir’s final song, not more than a year before a tragic snowstorm took Terje “Valfar” Bakken’s life. Tis a tale almost as old as Viking metal itself… The eerie foreshadowing of Valfar’s demise is told through the continued story of Arntor, the very windir
(or warrior, as translated from early Norse) the band is named after. But I am not here to recount folklore of black metal days past. Instead, I come before you over a decade later as whispers of Windir began to slowly fade into the snowy Norwegian forests and mountains…
…and reappear in the rolling hills of Brittany, 2,500 kilometers to the south. Materializing as Vindland, the legacy of melodic and synth-laden Viking metal lives on at this intersection of Breton and Sognamål mythos. Aptly translated as “haunted crossroads” in Brittonic, Hanter Savet
is a love letter to the iconic pagan metallers who created a sound so iconic that only few could successfully imitate, let alone master. And let me tell you, Vindland goes above and beyond successfully mimicking that sound. Hanter Savet
plays like a meticulously crafted mashup of only the absolutely very best parts of Windir, expertly performed and tastefully placed together into what could be considered Valfar’s post-mortem swansong. Give it a spin and you will understand within the first 30 seconds of the record.
Now this is not to discredit Vindland as mere copycats; the band successfully pays homage to legends while simultaneously crafting something new and refreshing. Lyrics are written and sung in an old French-Breton dialect, evoking mystery and intrigue around this southern flavor of paganism. More modern production further distinguishes Hanter Savet
from their northern predecessors. Melodic leads and keys sound both new and nostalgic but not overly worship-y. This balance is maintained throughout the record’s 55-minute runtime, culminating in a perfect tribute to Windir that will have you euphoric yet melancholic, then maybe a bit pensive, but ultimately optimistic as the frigid winds of black metal still sing Arntor’s song.