one of the reasons most mainstream music…

…doesn’t work for me is that there are too many people involved in crafting any random track, and it’s impossible to understand who they are and where they are coming from. Supposing they actually meant anything when writing, and the biggest reason is, of course, that they did not. Okay, they meant to get paid. That’s that.

It’s different when you dig deeper. No, even deeper. Way deeper.

I have written about Borknagar recently, and I figured that checking out their current vocalist’s solo stuff could do no wrong.

And it doesn’t get any more solo than this: Vintersorg the band is Mattias Marklund on guitar and Andreas “Vintersorg” Hedlund on everything else.

It’s a similarly awesome sort of music – different enough from Borknagar, but there are all those cool elements here as well: an integration of “darker” metal genres like viking/black with just about everything else, to the point that any genre definitions disappear, really. I’m not fond of those abstract labels like “avant-garde metal” or whatever; they are meaningless. We could analyse each and every individual track to break down every harmony or rhythm and figure out what genre these are most often found in… but who needs it, in all honesty? Let’s just say they don’t come together that often in a precisely this fashion.

Many Vintersorg albums are written exclusively in Swedish. Here is a video with a Spanish translation. It’s still better than nothing, isn’t it. Either way, it’s one of those songs that just make you go “what the hell was that”, in a good way.

k, technically there’s more than two of them

The song is actually rather boring, but damn pretty. And being pretty, it served its purpose of getting me hooked on Borknagar, whose 2001 album Empiricism I’m currently trying to virtually wear out =D It’s anything but boring, y’know.

Normally (i.e. unlike in that Winter Thrice song above), the lead singer of Borknagar is Vintersorg (has been since Empiricism, alright), and he does this endearing combination of charismatic, expressive extreme vox and unabashedly romantic, extra clean, somewhat “folkish” singing, somewhere in between young Pasi Koskinen’s studio work (remember Amorphis’ Elegy?) and Hansi Kürsch’s approach to ballads (minus his trademark ventures into hi-octane territory).

Musically, Empiricism also reminds me of all the best qualities Koskinen!Amorphis had, taking a core extreme genre like death metal (Amorphis) or black/viking metal (Borknagar) and messing with it till it turns into something progressive – not in the sense of “a billion notes per second played in 137/256” but in the sense of “quite unlike most things you’ve heard before”.

Check out this track – it’s awesome, and it’s just one of many. It’s impossible to pick favourites with that album.

And while we’re at it, let’s listen to some classic Amorphis again. Fun fact: it’s a “beauty and the beast” song actually, it’s just that the beauty is male. Growls are performed by Tomi Koivusaari, rhythm guitar.