Satanic Warmaster - Fimbulwinter
Hells Headbangers
Black Metal
8 songs (51'38")
Release year: 2015
Hells Headbangers
Reviewed by Alex

After giving high praise to Satanic Warmaster for Nachzehrer I remember reading some reviews calling that album substandard. Not sure what others were finding to be lacking as I was hooked from start to finish. Recorded in the classic Satanic Warmaster archaic rustic manner Nachzehrer was dripping with instantly captivating melodies.

After another nearly five years break we now have Fimbulwinter. I guess Mr. Werwolf needs to have a long time for a release. And if Nachzehrer was causing disagreements, then I foresee Fimbulwinter to be doing it perhaps even to a greater degree. The album proves that the master of hook did not go anywhere, but Fimbulwinter shows that the aforementioned master now prefers to do it with more modern, almost refined (for black metal of course) sound. The riffs on the album are strong, instantly recognizable as Satanic Warmaster (Fimbulwinter’s Spell, When Thunders Hail, Dragon’s Egg), but these drilling tremolos atop of thundering alternating double bass/blasts begin to blend a little. The opening part of Winter’s Hunger can be unrelenting, but, dare I say, by that point some of Fimbulwinter begins to sound samey, something I would not able to say about Nachzehrer. There is classic heavy metal break in Funeral Wolves, there is an atmospheric dreamy ending to Winter’s Hunger and the trademark Summoning-like closer Silent Call of Moon’s Temples. Yet, what I will definitely remember about Fimbulwinter that the album made a significant move to the rather generic sound.

I am not sure whether sound alone is responsible, or Nachzehrer had more melodic ideas, period, but I like Fimbulwinter’s predecessor better. Five years ago Satanic Warmaster melodies were flowing like an oil slick on water, above the fray and distinguishable, yet inseparable from the underneath texture. On Fimbulwinter there are no One Shining Star moments and Werwolf divides the cuts into brutal or melodic, providing the latter pointedly and sparingly, i.e. chord sequence delivering heroic theme with an overlayed solo in Funeral Wolves, or the first half of Nuin-Gaer-Faun playing an authentic flowing motif. Interestingly enough, the album really kicked it into gear for me after hearing a cover of Korppi by some unknown band Vornat, the song being a nasty drag out until exploring its double bass prodded melodic swirling sequences.

I didn't mean to sound overly critical, but thought after criticizing Keep of Kalessin last week for posing as black metal, I have to mention it that Fimbulwinter was lacking expressive raw melodic bestiality. At the same time, there is definitely no wimping out with Satanic Warmaster, and that alone deserves praise.

Killing Songs :
Korppi, Funeral Wolves, Nuin-Gaer-Faun
Alex quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Satanic Warmaster that we have reviewed:
Satanic Warmaster - Carelian Satanist Madness reviewed by Tony and quoted 80 / 100
Satanic Warmaster - Nachzehrer reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
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