Like their countrymen in Enslaved, the members of Windir have dedicated their band's entire career to chronicling the epic tales of Norse history and legend in loving, almost obsessive fashion -- and by means of incredibly violent black metal to boot. Their fourth opus, 2003's beautifully rendered Likferd, is no exception: from the mood-setting period painting by Norwegian artist Tidemand og Gude gracing its cover to the native themes and metallic orchestrations within, everything about the album speaks "Norway." Amazingly, only their second effort to feature any lyrics sung in English, Likferd boasts a wealth of cinematic black metal, with overpowering tracks like "Martyrium," "Despot," and "On the Mountain of Goats" qualifying, for all intents and purposes, as classically constructed symphonic pieces. Except here, they are performed by a virtual orchestra consisting of multi-tracked guitars, keyboards, and a smattering of blastbeat percussion, all of which, along with predominantly hoarse screams and the occasional choral vocal sections, weave densely harmonic reams of sound. Somewhat at odds with the album's analog heart, electronic elements occasionally rear their unwelcome heads, but save for portions of the lengthy "Fagning," they too are more often than not seamlessly integrated into Likferd's impressive canvas. And with further masterful highlights such as "Resurrection of the Wild" and "Blodssvik" leading the way, the stage is set for an emotionally complex and remarkably sensory listening experience.
|Label:||Head Not Found N'way|