Seidr – For Winter Fire

Posted on May 20, 2011

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The Flenser

5/24/2011

If Harold Camping is correct and the Rapture is indeed nigh, my blasting of Seidr’s debut full-length the last few days likely served to strengthen the earthquakes, tornadoes and various and sundry forces of God (read: nature) that the media’s nut job of the moment predicts are aimed right for humanity. For Winter Fire is an album that moves not in sections or bars, but in creeping tectonic shifts. It is the sound of the unrest we know is raging below the Earth’s surface. It is the sound of tsunamis the magnitude of which we have yet to witness on this planet. It is, to borrow a phrase from Neurosis, the eye of every storm.

Funeral doom is often described with paltry, exhausted adjectives like “epic” and “crushing,” but Seidr simply render such vocabulary laughable. Songwriting duo Austin Lunn (of Panopticon fame) and Wesley Crow paint tundras of infinite white, echoing canyons carved from sheer granite and endless, windswept deserts. Their elegiac leads capsize “On the Shoulders of the Gods”’ lumbering ark, torrents of deft string-skipping battering its swollen hull; while on “Stream Keeper” a frail tremolo wavers and builds to a glacial tremor, one voice an abyssal howl backed by pious clean intonations. The singing is likely to surprise dedicated fans of the genre, especially on acoustic breather “In the Ashes.” Sandwiched between two colossal half hour slabs of doom, the track somehow adds more weight to the events preceding and succeeding it, the classical, almost flamenco flourishes lending credence to the album’s bitter paeans to the End of Days.

Much like the actual apocalypse, harbingers hide amongst each composition as a warning to the damned. Vast expanses of strident riffing and bent notes wash into mandolin lines on “The Night Sky and the Wild Hun,” an eclectic moment set ablaze with banshee scream pinch harmonics and subtly triumphant tonal jumps. “Sweltering”’s loping tide changes and starry single notes give way to avalanches of miles-deep chugging. Double-tracked high and low bellows duel through flashes of clarity and cacophonic dirges alike. And then…bereaved, aching beauty. The humanity we’ve been searching for among the clashing of corrupt deities, its final gasps of post-metal pounding before the victor returns are worth enduring the eventual violence. If only we could distribute these sounds across the globe for all to heed the death throes within. Considering the long string of false prophets in ages past, there will be plenty more chances to repent after another uneventful Judgment Day merely wanes into a distant memory.

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