Feared- Vinter

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, December 29, 2013

Swedish melodic death metal band Feared formed in 2007 as a collaboration between vocalist Mario Ramos and instrumentalist Ola Englund. The band has released almost an album a year since 2010, with one of them being a complete re-recording of the self-titled debut. Up until the release of Furor Incarnatus in February 2013 Englund had handled the guitar and bass work as well as drum programming, but on this release Kevin Talley was brought in on drums and Jeff Hughell on bass. Talley is now a permanent member and Jocke Skog (ex-Clawfinger) is now on bass, and with this lineup in place Feared has released their second album of 2013. Vinter comes only about nine months after its predecessor, but has this short gap of time hurt the songwriting?

It becomes clear pretty quickly that there is nothing about Vinter that feels rushed or unfinished, as the production values are top notch and the songs feel fully realized. Feared’s overall sound hasn’t changed that much from their previous releases, but this isn’t a bad thing as they continue to balance heavier grooves and soaring melodies that instantly grab your attention. One of the reasons I haven’t listened to nearly as much melodic death metal in recent years is due to the fact that quite a few of them have a tendency to fall into a pattern fairly quickly and sound like they’re making small tweaks on the same song. Feared manages to avoid this pitfall, as almost every song on Vinter has a distinguishable element. One might be much more focused on the faster paced melodies while others slow things down and focus on the grooves, and no matter which direction the band goes in they always manage to grab you with strong leads. Combine that with strong production values that give the instrumental work a balanced sound where no individual element overpowers the other. I’ve listened to this album back to back quite a few times already and it has remained consistently strong each time through, which makes it a definite highlight for listeners that enjoy this genre.

Mario Ramos has the type of vocal range that you would expect from melodic death metal, as he often starts off with a lower pitched scream/growl and heads into higher territory as the songs progress. In addition to these harsh ranges there are also clean backing vocals, which I believe are performed by Jocke Skog. Clean singing in this genre is one of those hit or miss areas, as it can backfire if the cleaner ranges don’t match up to the level of energy that the other pitched bring to the table. But they work extremely well here, providing strong choruses that perfectly balance the harsh and melodic elements. Although all of the different vocal ranges on Vinter will feel familiar to listeners, they are performed well enough to stand out and leave a strong impression.

I’ve become fairly picky with melodic death metal over the years as there are plenty of bands that simply do the bare minimum stylistically and don’t offer anything interesting in their songwriting. But Feared has put together material that grabs the listener with strong hooks and provides them with plenty of reason to come back, which is even more impressive when you consider that this is the band’s second release of the year. It may not jump outside of the established genre sound too much, but when the hooks are this strong and the production values are top notch I don’t think melodic death metal fans can ask for much more. Vinter’s good stuff, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see Feared’s name pop up on one of the prominent metal labels in the years to come.


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