Vintersorg, "The Focusing Blur"
Vintersorg has become very popular with their last few releases, and I've tried hard to ignore the buzz, because technical, whimsical black metal usually doesn't do it for me (this is a disclaimer). So when the band's 2004 album The Focusing Blur hit my desk, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for me to see what the hype was all about.
I hit play and instantly a short list of bands ran through my mind: Spiral Architect, Lunaris and Borknagar. As the disc continued (and I read up on the guest musicians), the picture became clearer. The super technical rhythm section that sounds oh-so-familiar is the result of Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect, Borknagar) and Steve DiGiorgio's (Sadus, Lunaris, etc.) incredible talents...and it's pretty fucking impressive.
This leaves the guitars and the vocals to the actual band. I think the best way to critique these elements would be to say that Vintersorg should have looked to hire outside musicians for these pieces too, because this is where the album stumbles and ultimately fails. There's nothing too special or awe-inspiring about the guitar work, and the vocalist should have his tongue cut out and his lyric writing hand chopped off. The clean vocals, the insipid spoken passages and the childlike guitar riffs (maybe not in complexity, but in sound) are so bad that listening to this disc honestly makes me angry; I'd want to hurt the band members if they were in the same room as me. No amount of technical wizardry in the rhythm section can save what these two clowns have done on The Focusing Blur. Moreover, diehard fans of Spiral Architect should be upset that Vintersorg has tried to boost their reputation by borrowing their drummer.Peter Johnston