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Album Debut: Vinterbris – Solace

The Band

Norway’s Vinterbris are youthful exuberance incarnate with a catch: they don’t fall prey to the pyrite allure of maximalism. This isn’t to say the outfit need a case of red pens to edit like Wire, nor is it to suggest they’ve set a table for two and are ready to indulge in a night of whispered intimacy. They’re definitely interested in Moonsorrow-ian odysseys, august melo waltzes, and black metal’s masonry. Yet, the quartet smartly avoid shooting the moon. Vocalist/guitarist Henrik Skar allows songs to breath, showing by way of his riffs instead of telling with his scratchy scream. Partner in trem Richard Hemre Dahle knows his duty is to supply textural depth, enriching runs through enticing countermelodies and overtone augmenting chords. The rhythm section — Ivan Rolstad on drums, Kristoffer Aalhus on bass — have the handiness of master carpenters, dependably thwacking in the ones. Plus, thanks to the ear-pleasing production, the final product is the wishlist stuff the too-kvlt really want, though they dare not mention by description. Vinterbris aren’t a chore, a thing one has to log hours to try and enjoy. From their birth in 2008, across a previous EP and LP, and tours accompanying Aura Noir, no one has ever heard Vinterbris and thought, Brainbuster. Grey matter doesn’t cramp. Sections aren’t over-cluttered due to all-poly-everything. They’re just good, in the way Dissection is just good, in the way an orange slice after an umami beatdown is good. There will always be a place in your collection for good.

The Release

Solace, their second LP, is also tight: six tracks, 36 minutes. Nary a tick is wasted. One wouldn’t be surprised to find quadruple the material fell to their cutting room floor. If there’s an aspect Vinterbris abhor, it’s fat. So, the trimmings are ditched for only the killer. Their ingredients are flavored with melodic black metal spice, thus providing a needed continuity, but they clearly picked ripe notes from different locations. “Ash Alight” has an iron-rich trad-ness pulled from Somewhere in Time, rocking between the attention grabbing syncopation of punky false stops. “Fathoms” is a jogger’s jam, setting a steady beat while Skar and Dahle paint an epic panorama. It’s the kind of tune that should start when a stiff gust of wind blows open your jacket, raising goosebumps, reminding you that you’re alive. “The Aura of Despair” cooks slowly in a Quorthon-ian crock-pot and then takes the lead, displaying an affinity for Dark Tranquility. Speaking of shred, Vinterbris treat solos as a dessert. They’re careful to dodge that sort of overindulgence. Dig a sweep? Neat, hit repeat. That’s all they ask of you. It’s an easy request to oblige.

Vinterbris’ Solace will be available via Nordavind Records on June 16. Preorders are available starting today at Nordavind’s Bandcamp for both physical and digital iterations.

— Ian Chainey

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