Shortly before sitting down and checking out what I’d like to sink my teeth into for my first review, I did some research online regarding a book in a new fantasy series called “The Song of Fire and Ice” by George R.R. Martin. One of the kingdoms in this series is called Winterfell, and much to my surprise, there was a band by the same name just waiting for ears to give it a listen.
Winterfell is a young band from Pennsylvania that have apparently been getting a fair bit of hype from people in the underground power metal scene lately. They’ve released one EP, Winter is Coming, since their formation in early 2000, and The Veil of Summer represents their debut full-length.
I’m pretty picky when it comes to power metal, and I really don’t have the stomach for the sappy garbage that sadly seems to be riddling much of the genre today. Thankfully, Winterfell is the sort of power metal band that knows how to put the emphasis on power, and they never really manage to fall into many of the genre’s goofier pitfalls.
Things never get too light or fluffy with The Veil of Summer. These songs are just heavy enough, the soloing is impeccable, and the vocals are strong and never too shrill. There will probably be some immediate comparisons to fellow American metallers Iced Earth, as vocalist Robb Graves’ voice sounds pretty similar Matt Barlow at times, and Winterfell play a similar style of thrashy power. But Winterfell manages to find ways to stand out on their own, too. Of particular note is the fact that bassist Greg Weitnecht’s playing seems to get a pretty strong emphasis throughout the record, which is refreshing for a sub-genre that often forces the four-stringing to get lost in the background.
Veil of Summer is a very impressive debut from a band I very much hope to hear more from in the not-too-distant future. If you’re a fan of power metal and have been looking for something tasty to sink your teeth into, seek this one out immediately.