Well I have to say first off that when someone sends a vinyl copy of their debut as a review copy you do kinda sit up and notice, so thanks for that. Good cover too, and well worth the LP treatment.
This a one man project, from Swedish gent Robin Petterson, and as ‘Jag For’ winds up with its insistent driven riff and drumming we’re in pagan/black territory it seems. Growled vocals over a cold riff but then the lead guitar adds real colour and, dare I say it, warmth to the proceedings. It’s a straightforward one riff song but with plenty of variation in the lead melody paint it with a more varied palette than most. Nice start. Production is efficient, the drums in particular, and…yeah, it’s nice. Instrumental ‘Rimfrost’ follows which is an acoustic, sombre folk affair which in its juxtaposition brings a chill and certainly a wary moment of contemplation before ‘Rushing Blood’. This pulls thing into a more doomy world; still with that pagan metal feel but a more dense sound. Again the lead break adds colour and other little guitar touches show the thought that has been put into the composition. It is pleasing enough but somehow I feel that it doesn’t quite justify its eight minute length. ‘Alea Iacta Est’ is really a more compact version and works better, with an added sense of almost turbulence beneath the riff at times. The epic eleven minute ‘Morrowless’ closes things off: Acoustic, grim intro burst asunder by a great riff and lead attack that injects some grandeur and energy back into the proceedings, a little death to the black too.
It’s difficult with a debut, always. This checks in at about half an hour and so is a good lengthy introduction to Windthrow and there is a lot to like here. It has a thoughtfulness to it and an intelligence and the musicianship sounds very accomplished with no weak links. What I would say is that there are few hooks to pull people in by and that a couple of the songs don’t really go anywhere after the first few minutes. It is doubly sad as again you just feel as there is an identity feeling its way through to the surface here, something with its own voice caught between pagan, folk, death and black that is going to be well worth hearing more of. Just a little sharper work on the compositional aspect maybe, a brighter production perhaps to throw a little more light and shade.
Whatever, this is a solid and talented beginning and I look forward to seeing where they go with it.