Vinterbris- Solace

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, May 15, 2014

Norwegian melodic black metal band Vinterbris formed in 2008 and self-released an EP and full length before signing with Nordavind Records for their sophomore effort Solace. While I hadn’t come across this band previously they made an immediate impression with this release, as their mix of the colder, abrasive edge of black metal and soaring atmospheric leads merge together in a way that feels familiar without turning into a retread. It’s a bit shorter than similar efforts, coming in at 36 minutes, but Vinterbris is able to keep their ideas concise and make the most of their track lengths to create an entrancing listen.

Solace offers all of the elements that have brought me back to this genre time and time again, as the instrumentalists utilize mid-tempo and fast paced riffs that balance harsher and mellower ideas to create an absorbing atmosphere. Unlike some of the other bands out there, Vinterbris doesn’t seem to fall squarely into one particular genre. Black metal does seem to be at the base of quite a few of the tracks on this album as that colder tonality often makes an appearance, but the use of acoustic guitar reminded me of the folk angle bands like Agalloch are known for and some of the higher flying riffs are reminiscent of older melodic death metal. This blend of styles gives the group more of an identity, and it helps that the individual riffs make the songs distinguishable from each other. Solace is a bit short but it makes the most of it, as each of the six tracks is able to build up to a memorable climax and the instrumentalists keep things fairly concise rather than dragging out their ideas. Add in the clear, polished sound that makes it easier to pick out the nuances of the material, and you have an album worth paying attention to.

Guitarist Henrik Skar also handles all of the vocal work on Vinterbris’ material, and for the majority of Solace he hits a higher shriek/scream which is where a good deal of the band’s black metal sound comes from. But rather than sticking with this pitch for the entire release, Skar is also able to hit some lower growls as well. This adds additional depth to the vocal performance and this helps considerably, as it lets the harsher ranges build in a similar manner as the instrumentals and add that extra burst of intensity to the material. It may seem like a small detail, but the fact that the vocals are able to change and not stick with the same pitch for its entirety makes a big difference and helps the material to stand out more.

There are plenty of familiar elements on display throughout Solace, but Vinterbris is able to blend them together in a way that doesn’t feel overly predictable and has strong songwriting to back it up. Unlike some of the others out there, this band doesn’t drag things out either, and that allows their tracks to make a big impact. And considering that this is only their second full length album, I expect even better things to come as Vinterbris continues to progress and experiment with new ideas.

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