BY Natalie Zina WalschotsPublished Jul 9, 2012

Swedish band Vintersorg have been around since 1994, combining elements of folk metal, Viking metal, progressive and avant-garde elements into a complex, metaphysical conglomeration all their own. While their earlier material explored and pushed the boundaries of black metal, their most recent work (2011's Jordpuls, and now Orkan) spirals out into completely different galaxies. Orkan (which means "hurricane") comes a mere 15 months after their previous record, which is even more impressive when you consider that singer Andreas Hedlund also fronts Borknagar and several other bands. While the record begins with some delicacy, in the form of "Istid" ― Hedlund's voice as tender as a shivering silver rain ― by the time "Ur Stjärnstoft Är Vi Komna" fully develops, it breaks against the listener with elemental force. The melodies are non-linear and unpredictable, displaying the unpredictability of the weather. However, while the verses and bridges exhibit more experimentation and shifts in tempo, the choruses are strong, powerful and incredibly satisfying. This technique gives each song an anchor, a centre that exerts a kind of musical gravity that allows the rest of the track to explore. Each number is gigantic, a star system in and of itself, ranging from five to seven-and-a-half minutes in length, The tracks reach out, like the arms of a spiral galaxy, and every note and phrase sound like a piece of something larger, one element of a beautiful whole.

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