Vintersorg – Jordpuls (Napalm Records)

Thursday, 21st March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

In an effort to not come across as sounding nitpicky, but it’s a partial waste for Vintersorg (real name: Andreas Hedlund) to sing in all Swedish. Simply put, the man has too majestic of a voice to be limited to just his native tongue. However, a Swedish-sung Vintersorg is better than no Vintersorg at all, and on Jordpuls (“Pulse of the earth”) the Swede and longtime collaborator/guitarist Mattias Markland stick to what they do best, which is folk-infused metal.

Once again eschewing the noodly progressive flair that was predominant on 2002’ s Visions From the Spiral Generator and 2004’s The Focusing Blur,Jordpuls romps and rolls much in the same fashion as their breakout Cosmic Genesis album from 2001. Of course, Cosmic was stacked to the brim (on the first four songs, at least) with emotionally pulsating songs; not so much withJordpuls, although Hedlund and Markland try their darndest to dip back into the vaults.

There is more of fun-time, ethnic vibe to the first couple of jams here, something that makes Vintersorg’s voice sound even more vibrant. His growls will always be secondary, but when he lets out his clean vocals during “Världsalltets Fanfar” and “Klippor Och Skär,” it’s too hard to resist. Cue the highlight reel for “Mörk Nebulosa,” perhaps the most direct nod to Cosmic Genesis, unfurling a vat of frisky black metal riffs that blend seamlessly with Vintersorg’s spacious clean vocals. Heck, the man gets downright choral on “Stjärndyrkan,” with some beautiful vocal layers to boot. Gee, think we like Vintersorg’s vocals?

His status with Borknagar is currently in flux (Vortex or Vintersorg? Tough choice, Oystein) so Vintersorg can firmly rest on the notion he has another reliable album on his hands in the form of Jordpuls. The distinct pitch and tenor that the Swede carries is unlike any other in extreme metal, and needs to be heard to be believed…even if your Swedish translation skills are lacking.

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