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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Seidr - For Winter's Fire (2011)

Band: Seidr
Country: Louisville, Kentucky
Style: Death/Doom Metal
Label: Flenser

It's hard for me to resist a project that contains two of black metal's most obscure, but prolific and interesting, men, A. Lundr and Crow. After putting out several smaller releases, this is their first full-length and an accumulation of many years. I'm hopeful that the title of ritualistic doom metal won't let me down.
A. Lundr, whose main project Panopticon is pushing black metal boundaries into unexpected realms of folk and country music, and Crow's own fusion of drone and black metal really bringing a lot of personality to the genre, as well as Adam Nicholson and J. Brafford's doom band Below moving doom into styles of the past and modern, Seidr is taking doom into much more adventurous areas than their piers; and yes, I know that's a long opening statement. On here, sure, you'll find crushing doom metal riffs and droning chords, but you'll also find moments that are much more meditative or melodic. Channeling elements of shoegaze and post-rock into their sound adds something a lot more fluid to their compositions, utilizing both rising and falling moments. The experimental nature, or just the unwillingness to conform to typical, or modern, doom formats really brings these guys to the top of the latter in their respective genre.
The aforementioned experimental nature in this album really brings a breath of fresh air to each track, whether it's the drone-meets-stoner vibes on On The Shoulders of The Gods or the funeral doom-meets-depressive blackgaze on Sweltering, I do have to mention that despite the stylistic meeting of the latter track, it far surpasses what any other bands you might associate with that sound. There's plenty of that slow going, building tension riffing that still makes it doom, as well as a pretty clear bass in the mix, but the record as a whole is just so much more and it really makes me wish more doom bands would venture to experiment likes these guys. The inclusion of the more folk "ballad" In The Ashes, which is pretty easy going compared to the album closer Stream Keeper which is what I would call the essential song for this album. For me, it's this track that epitomizes the title of ritualistic doom metal, it's hypnotic, heavy, adventurous, and memorable.
This has got to be one of the, if not the, best doom metal record I've heard all year. These guys should really be proud of what they've accomplished with this full-length, each song brings something new to the table but maintains the same core. Definitely check this out if you want to hear some forward thinking doom.
Overall Score: 9.5
Highlights: Every Track Is A Highlight

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