It’s Sunday morning, 6 a.m. to be exact, and temperatures have been hitting the high 90’s, low 100’s here in Arkansas. As the sun crushes all of our fun for the summer, as always, we can only hope and pray that the world will turn into an iceberg. The fan in my room keeps me somewhat cool but not to the point that Satan himself will cool off. Where am I going with this scenario you ask? A little band that goes by the name Vinterland, of course. The one band besides Immortal, Bathory or Burzum that can turn my heat filled days into tundras of solid ice. Putting their Swedish mark on the black metal scene back in ’96 with a record titled “Welcome My Last Chapter”, we have yet to see what this band is doing beside their other project, The Black.
Mystical worlds that embody the freezing rivers, snow covered landscapes and thousands of caves that keep the humans warm enough to stay alive in the middle of the night. A record that has this much integrity and guts should be looked upon as one of the classics. “Welcome My Last Chapter” delivers on all cylinders, giving you the huge influence of second wave black metal but with more melodies. I know it sounds like something you may not enjoy but trust me, it’s a record that will ice your heart over ten fold. Piano sections so marvelous that it echos through the trees of a decaying forest while you try to stay warm by that fire with the other worthless humans that are traveling with you. In some sense of it all, vampiric struggles seem to be a pretty large part of the lyrics. Covering situations such as trying to find blood to quench the thirst of the man in the lyrics to just consuming the forest on a dark winter night so he can feel as one with his surroundings.
From the track “Still The Night Is Awake” – “Still the night is awake, like a black candle that’s all around. To go from dusk from here, I walk thirsty for blood. Thirsty for blood. Still the night is awake, with the dead I spread my wings. Now the realm is here, come with me?”
Illusions of dark rituals also seem to bash the side of your brain as this record is playing. The classic situation of cult leaders walking through the forest with torches as they hunt for the people that escaped their grasp nearly minutes earlier. You can hear the wolves crying in the background as these merciless souls are trying to find any kind kind of hope in the winter, snow filled woods. The best part about this record is that’s really, in a weird way, ahead of it’s time. The black metal we hear today is mainly filled with melodic riffs and little to zero time signatures. Vinterland was doing this all back in the mid 90’s, except they put acoustic sections and time signatures into their tracks.
Think of it this way, when the mainstream talks about the best metal/hard rock acts of all time, Rush isn’t usually on the list and if they are they seem to be pretty low on the list. Vinterland is the Rush of black metal, it’s that simple. Many would rather give crowns to bands like Immortal, Darkthrone, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Burzum and even Carpathian Forest but in the tradition that I work in, I give one to Vinterland. I’m not taking anything away from those great bands mentioned above but Vinterland deserves to be in the discussion along with those great acts.