Imagine Apulia in Italy! Nice weather, good food, an abundance of beach. But home of blackened Melodic Death Metal with a Viking touch? Sounds kind of strange, but … yeah. Some of that is indeed to be found there.
Vinterblot joins us from Bari, the beautiful coastal city way down in the South towards the heel of the boot. And they just unleashed their newest full length record Realms of the Untold this early 2016. Looks like their Teutonic ancestors from long ago are still in their blood and genes somehow. Hence the proverbial and brutal fury they let loose on this record.
Reminiscent to bands like NordWitch for style and Amon Amarth for content, they now managed to distinguish themselves. And get to their own brand of metal. Looks like the Viking part has been pushed way back and is now mostly replaced by a more or less blackened melodeath style. What really strikes me is their no-nonsense, bare bones tune that gives you this raw impression of being on scene at once! And I like it. WYHIWYG – What you hear is what you get! No kidding.
And does Realms of the Untold win the crunch to quality? The album cruises along at some 40 minutes of sound only, which barely qualifies it as a full length. But I can tell ya, they got real crunch to speak for them. And the pressure does not let up until the bitter end.
The album was recorded and produced in the band’s own studio – supervised by the guitarist Vandrer. Dan Swanö, well-known and respected in the metal community through his numerous projects, took on the mighty task of mixing and mastering Realms of the Untold. And it shows: The results are pretty outstanding. If only all Black and Death Metal productions would be able to lose their smoky backroom taste and come to the forefront like this one. This genre would have a totally different calling.
The album starts with a tremolo laden Evoked By Light. And steps right into this tar laden blackened metal pot. This first track is already reason enough to pause and listen a little closer. It also features a solo of some substance in this riffy sea of theirs. Frostbitten is more down-to-earth Death Metal, albeit more melodic than many of the die-hard productions I was listening to these days. Good crunchy metal cubes in there to be crushed by the faithful fanboy. Only to wear some Black Metal badges like a fucking Purple Heart later in the song – ’cause it reverts back to the Black Metal road real quick. And the hook at the end will just blow you away.
Unveiling the Night’s Curtain greets you with a very strong taste of Batushka, not quite the same tune and no chanting, of course. But still close enough in a way. This is Black Metal played the old fashion, just perfect.
Out of their own cloudy sky, Vinterblot gets you these weird acoustic/atmospheric filler interludes in The Summoning and …of Woods and Omen. Just to suddenly return into the razor sharp abodes of good, crunchy blackened metal.
Now, the center piece is probably Vagrant Spirits in a Misty Rainfall in all its Melodic Death Metal glory, going Insomnium style on the listener. Minus the clear voice passages. This is an astonishing change of direction from the other more hardcore slabs of metal.
And Realms of the Untold does not let you out of its clutches until the very end. Throne of Snakes has kept my attention each time I listened to it on any of my devices. And then the last shot in this mighty metal war, a strange mix between Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal called Triumph Recalls My Name will bring the album to a fitting end. With a solo, no doubt.
You know, in the beginning I did not expect much from Realms of the Untold. From a – what I gathered – should be a Viking Metal band from Southern Italy. But I stand corrected: Vinterblot delivers a gritty, chunky and very crafty mix of Blackened Melodic Death Metal with some Black Metal in the mix. Coupled with a few acoustic interludes, this is really an alluring metal cocktail. Go for it and get a copy.