Vintersorg – The Focusing Blur Review

Originally written by Ian Dreilinger.

Being as huge an advocate for genre melding as I am, it’s rare that I find a musician with a very forward thinking mentality and enough talent to back up the vision to be sterile. Vintersorg, however, has always previously struck me as rather boring; it’s as though he was creating innovative music for all the wrong reasons or mixing styles that simply don’t mesh well. Visions from the Spiral Generator was far more adventurous and unique than his previous albums, which were more firmly rooted in Viking metal, but it did nothing for me. It’s not as though it was a bad listen, there just wasn’t anything captivating enough to draw me back for multiple listens. At its core, The Focusing Blur isn’t tremendously different than its predecessor, but thanks to a few interesting additions, much stronger songwriting, and what seems to me to be much more passion for the music, it’s an infinitely more gratifying listen that has yet to bore me and that has, during its thus brief stay in my possession, matured quite well.

There are additions to Vintersorg’s style on The Focusing Blur that are both good and not so good. One of the most prominent among the good is the addition of some vaudeville/circus style melodies that are very reminiscent of La Masquerade Infernale era Arcturus. Though something I wasn’t expecting, it’s fits quite nicely and is very helpful in tying together the array of styles Mr. V transitions between. The tone set by those moments makes the rest of the album make a good deal more sense. One of my least favorite additions to the sound is the use of narration at a few points during the course of the album. Bal-Sagoth is brought to mind, and even at times the horrific and cheesy narration that Rhapsody used towards the close of their 19-minute epic on their last album. The final addition of note is the implementation of more keyboards that are at times great and at times excessively cheesy, sometimes both at once.

One of my favorite aspects of this album is the instrument that’s overlooked far too often: the bass. Steve Di Giorgio has done wonders here, as can always be expected from the man. His style is unmistakable and quite remarkable. The playing is spectacular throughout with intricacies even during parts that are meant solely to be for the purpose of rhythm, but the occasional moments when the bass takes the lead are when it really shines through. And on the subject of musical execution, everything here, without fail, is great. All instruments serve their purposes, utilizing intricacies and subtle flairs here and there that add something extra and essential.

Rounding out this great album is its superb production. The guitar tone suits the music wonderfully, and everything in the mix is very appropriately placed and easy to pick out. Occasionally the vocals may be slightly too prevalent, but it’s a minor issue that hasn’t diminished the album’s quality at all.

If you were slightly disappointed with Visions from the Spiral Generator because it wasn’t as rooted in Viking/folk metal as previous Vintersorg albums, this one is in no way a return to that style, but it is a very well done elaboration of what was being done on its antecedent. I wholeheartedly recommend this one and anticipate enjoying it for a long time to come.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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