Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fester - "Winter of Sin (Reissue)" (2010) [Abyss Records]

Fester is a Norwegian blackened death metal band from Askim, Norway. Led by Bjorn “Tiger” Mathisen on the guitar and vocals, this band is considered one of the leaders in the blending of black metal and death metal styles. This band combines great guitar riffage with excellent vocal work and simplistic, foundational drum work. This album was released to the metal masses way back in 1992 where it received minimal to no play. Perhaps it was overshadowed by the Second Wave of Black Metal that was sweeping Norway at the time. Nonetheless, this album is a true gem among blackened death metal bands, and its reissue by Abyss Records could not have come at a better time (due to a plethora of bands with an interest in the blackened death metal genre).

Winter of Sin is filled with great guitar riffage and some groovin’ songs. For example, the opening and title track, “Winter of Sin” starts this album off in the right direction. Opening up with a sound clip of a traveler walking in the snow, the guitars rip the track right open with a killer, groovy riff. At time marker 2:05, a “breakdown” of sorts is very well utilized before heading back into the main riff. While talking about this track, I have to again mention how simplistic and foundational the drum work is. The drummer provides only what is necessary to further the song. The drumming is not too busy or chaotic, nor is it too simple. Rather, it fits in perfectly with the song. The drumming is definitely my favorite part about the album because of how effectively he utilizes the kit. Finally, this song concludes after retouching on the opening riff. A superb head banging track to kick off the album!

“Winter of Sin” is very much a death metal inspired song. A good example of a black metal inspired song would be the fourth song on the album, “Entering…”. The opening to this song is very similar to a lot of the Second Wave material that was taking place around them. The only difference is that Fester plays there version of Second Wave slower  (which helps it retain a groovy, slow head bang kind of feel). When I listen to “Entering…”, I can picture this song being sped up and sounding very Second Wave. Pause this song during any point and think about it, you will understand the point I am trying to get across. “Entering…” is another awesome track off of this ten song gem.

Winter of Sin is an amazing piece of art. The blending of black metal and death metal on this record is truly a perfect balance of 50/50. I feel that many bands that play blackened death metal cater towards one side of the genre inside of catering equally to both. Fester has found that blend and they have down to a science! Not only do they have the overall formula down, but they also have seamless transitions down to a science as well. If you are not paying attention at 100%, you can’t even tell when the band switches from black metal to death metal and vice versa. This tells me that they are experts at their craft, a truly great blackened death metal band! I highly recommend this reiusse (plus it contains a live bonus track!). Help support great blackened death metal and show some respect! Pick up a copy by clicking on the following link; http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/product_info.php?cPath=21_75&products_id=9819

-  Pat 

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