Vintersorg Solens Rötter

It’s been three years since the last (unfulfilling) Vintersorg record, and Solens Rötter isn’t a heroic successor. The album is more coherent than The Focusing Blur; it’s hard to get into but when you sit down and pay the songs some serious attention their complexity and inner logic begin to unfold. But if you let your mind stray, the songs fade into the background. The basic components are what any Vintersorg fan might expect: melodic singing and blackened growls (more of the former), progressive experimentation and instrumentation (especially from the synthesiser), metal riffs and traditional balladry. However, Vintersorg’s latest shifts its emphasis from astral to pastoral, a change that becomes tangible with a return to more folk elements and Swedish lyrics that address nature more than science (supposedly — my Swedish doesn’t go much beyond asking for a glass of red wine). When it all comes together in just the right balance it feels right but often it falls flat, most noticeably in the confusing instrumental closer. Interesting if you have the patience but "interesting” isn’t a quality that inspires vivacious enthusiasm and Solens Rötter doesn’t leave a strong lasting impression. (Napalm)