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Blessings Of Winter

Let's go back in time... The time is late 1994, early 1995. Two young, quite unknown bands from Gothenburg, Sweden, put themselves on the map of Metal with furious mini CDs. IN FLAMES released the legendary EP "Subterranean" and DARK TRANQUILLITY put out the "Of Chaos And Eternal Night" EP a few months later. It didn't take long before DISSECTION offered "Storm Of The Light's Bane" as a definite and extremely influential highlight of this newborn and now well-known sub-genre, the so-called "Gothenburg style". When I listened to "Blessings Of Winter", the debut offering of NORRSKÖLD, I immediately thought that this EP would have fitted perfectly as an imaginary third EP in this list of Swedish genre-defining highlights. But the young history of this band didn't start until 2012, when Henrik Bodin-Sköld left IRRBLOSS to start his own bands under the moniker of his stage name NORRSKÖLD. Three other former IRRBLOSS members joined the band as session musicians, drummer Isojärvi, bass player Vrind (as Tunnan) and Henriks predecessor Frid, who does the vocals here like in WARHEIM. Mathias Rexius joined in for more guitar duties and in this line-up "Blessings Of Winter" came about. Now it would neither be fair, nor correct to call NORRSKÖLD a clone band. Of course they don't leave the boundaries of the Gothenburg style. Why should they? They even are from this city. But they manage to find their own place in the scene, mixing the aforementioned influences to find their way. The opening 'Night Crystals' already shows the direction of this EP - a refreshing, energetic song full of melodies in the typical vein, mixed with a certain DISSECTION feeling and an acoustic break that leads the way for a quite Black part. 'Dreamless' offers the same qualities before the acoustic title track 'Blessings Of Winter' restores peace. 'Dead Meadows' and 'Solar Prominence' are a little too much rooted in the classical vein, especially the latter seems quite familiar to me. The concluding 'Where Death Smites' is my personal fave on "Blessings Of Winter", a quite epic song that would have fitted DISSECTION pretty well, because it sometimes has a quite anti-cosmic feeling, if you know what I mean. So, after nearly half an hour of Gothenburg Metal, I need to state that NORRSKÖLD didn't re-invent the wheel here. But since the earlier mentioned "big three" are either laid to rest, became lame or changed their direction (and became very lame), there's a void to fill in the hearts of those who miss their trademarks. They should immediately check out NORRSKÖLD at

Thomas Meyer

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