Seidr – For Winter Fire …   Leave a comment

Seidr is a collaborative doom project between Austin Lunn (Panopticon) and Crow from Wheels Within Wheels. Seidr have made this album of no frills ambient doom-metal and it is a record that takes chances within the their chosen genre and the high-points are truly spectacular and its flaws are minor but sadly occur all throughout the album making ‘For Winter Fire’ a tough album to sit through but lets focus on the positives and there is many to choose from. The band really know how to work the atmosphere and this album is a totally chilling experience that is meticulous in the way it is put together.

The sound of the band is best compared with the darkest Neurosis material so this is closer to post-ambient, post-rock doom more than anything traditional in the doom-metal genre. There is bursts of pummeling riffs and some extremely thick guitar sounds and the clean vocal passages work very well. 5 out of the 7 songs all go way past the 10 minute-mark which is one of the draw-backs to the album, nothing wrong with long-songs but they have to be good to keep you interested but sadly with this album, they miss the mark way too often.

The album opens with ‘A Vision from Hlidskjalf’ which is typical of most of the album, it is over 11 minutes long and after the opening few minutes which sounds like a long-lost movie soundtrack, the real doom is unleashed and it is lurching and thunderous. Not much really happens throughout the 11 minutes, the crawling pace doesn’t really change except for one odd passage where it changes musical direction completely sounding more like a post-rock band than doom-metal. The emphasis here is on doom and not metal, not that the band isn’t heavy but this is all about the icy atmosphere surrounding the Nordic-inspired concepts. There seems to be a lot of redundant passages within this song, at least 5 minutes worth by my calculations and that excessive padding gets more noticeable as the album plays on, especially in the albums second-half.

‘On The Shoulders Of The Gods’ is another 11 to 12 minute epic that begins with tedious screaming feedback that takes up a third of the track and a sample of hammers hitting anvils. When the track finally gets going (Relief!) there is less emphasis on crushing guitar and more importance is placed on creating a space-rock kind of vibe. There is some interesting double-tracked vocal growls but really at almost 12 minutes, it is overkill. If you found that track to be a little too extended, the following track ‘Sweltering’ is another almost 12 minute epic and no offense but the real mesmerizing parts of the song make up for maybe 3 or 4 minutes of the piece, the rest is just the same old things bled to death. Those mesmerizing parts come in the form of killer, ice-cold riff in the songs first half with a fragile, gentle hypnotic riff later in the track and the added sample of thunderstorms really adds to the melancholic, chilling vibe.

36 minutes in but only 3 songs into the album, an interlude is needed and they deliver with ‘In The Ashes’ which sounds like it is all of a sudden a completely different band playing. It has mandolin, vocal harmonies and provides a nice break from the crushing bleakness but even though it is only 4 and bit minutes long, this also seems to drag on a bit too long. The following ‘The Night Sky And The Wild Hun’ has a Middle Eastern flavor with a sitar-driven section and some of the heaviest riffing on the album but apart from that it is nothing out of the ordinary and this is the point in the album where it all comes crashing down in my opinion. Every song drags on this album anyway but the album’s second half is especially challenging to listen to, the tracks are overly long for seemingly no good reason from what I can hear.

The last two tracks, ‘A Gaze At The Stars’ and ‘Stream Keeper’ make up 25 minutes of the albums running time and both tracks go nowhere fast. There seems to be no real direction or purpose to both of these tracks and in fact ‘A Gaze At The Stars’ just sounds like a hodge-podge of aimless ideas from other songs thrown together for the sake of it. ‘Stream Keeper’ is a little better but a 14 minute track that is mostly full of redundant musical passages and ideas that are nothing more than rudimentary doesn’t spell entertainment to me. The production on this album is also very flat and lifeless and the drum-sound is incredibly empty compared with the rest of the band. So it has its flaws and a lot of them but the atmosphere coupled with some incredible playing still makes most of this very decent indeed but have your skip/fast-forward button at the ready, you will need it……..5.5/10

Seidr @ Facebook
Flenser Records

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Posted June 17, 2011 by doommantia in Seidr

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