Windir - Likferd
Head Not Found
Melodic Black Metal
8 songs (48'43")
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

It is strange how life works sometimes. Early in the week I was listening to the latest album by Windir called Likferd trying to formulate my review. On Friday while being out of town, I had to drive home for a couple hours late into the night. My wife was with me and I never listen to extreme metal while riding together with her. Out of character, on the whim, I picked up Windir CD and popped it in. Dark silent empty road, the two of us beat up and tired after a long day and the magnificence of Martyrium ripping out the car speakers. My wife, no metal lover, sat there quietly and then said: “Wow, even I got the shakes!” Meanwhile, thousand miles away in Norway Windir frontman/songwriter/original founder Valfar, aka Terje Bakken, passed away on that every night at the age of 25. Strange eerie coincidence of life … (Thanks for the heads up, Jay).

It is not certain what will happen with the band, it is not even known yet why Valfar passed away, but this statement is undeniable – Likferd is one hell of a glorious melodic black metal album. I haven’t heardWindir before, but this album is the band’s fourth output. Having started as a one-man project Windir released two albums, and then became a true band by Valfar calling on his cohorts from the local band Ulcus. As a band, Windir released 1184 in 2001 and Likferd in 2003. Something to be said about sharing for the betterment of your band.

I find Windir to be a black metal band of the kind I personally like a lot. They have a conviction and a foundation upon which they play. Undoubtedly inspired by the Norse culture, history and nature Windir, on the other hand, is black metal to the core. The rhythms blast or double bass you to kingdom come, but the melody captivates from start to finish. The band excels at songwriting with each part lasting exactly the right amount of time and coming up in the right sequence.

Short reserved intro switches to an insane blastbeat over which clear and crispy riffs are woven (Resurrection of the Wild). Yet the middle break is full of powerful serenity. Magnificent melody of Martyrium is positioned against the rhythmic backdrop very similar to that of Doommaker song on The Pagan Prosperity by Old Man’s Child. Unlike Doommaker Martyrium has several tempo variations, slows down quite a bit with melody being no less uplifting and triumphant. Guitars and keyboards come at listener as alternating waves of one of the Norwegian fjords. The keys on the album play a very important role. While not being relied on to carry the music, which usually earns a band the “cheesy” label, they contribute to the background blending both end-of-the-world and enchanting feeling in Windir odes (Fagning). Blodssvik and Dauden find the band relying heavily on the folk melodies and rhythms reminding me of early Enslaved. Windir blends Norse folk music and black metal extremes very organically making them inseparable. The songs don’t sound like overwritten and rearranged traditional melodies. Instead, they sound like black metal which harkens back to the roots. To have even bigger epic feeling Windir uses clean choruses which add immensely to the overall experience. Sometimes they sound almost Therion like (the ending of Blodssvik) without the operatics, but most of the time they convey the “we will overcome whatever is thrown our way” passion (Aetti Morkna). Main vocals are, of course, black metal screams handled by Valfar. It is important to note that they are not unintelligible banshee shrieks, Valfar follows the melody lines and goes full-out at the same time (Aetti Morkna). The album has two heavier, more brutal songs Despot and On the Mountain of Goats with its buzzing riffs and super powerful double bass reminiscent of Zyklon.

With Likferd Windir could rightfully claim a piece of the Norwegian metal throne occupied by other luminaries. Windir is more anthemic than Immortal, and it is more varied than early Old Man’s Child. It is not as experimental as late Enslaved, and has a splash of Finnish sound, especially in the use of keyboards. All in all, the talents in songwriting, melodic gems and tightness of the delivery prompted me to call it Album of the Month. Additionally, the album has a perfectly clear production, an oddity in black metal scene, but a necessity for Windir’s music.

I never meant this review to be the tribute when I planned it earlier in the week. Somehow it turned out to be. Whatever the cause, whatever the circumstance, it is always sad to lose a human being, especially a talented musician. RIP, Valfar.

Killing Songs :
Martyrium, Blodssvik, Fagning, Dauden, Aetti Morkna
Alex quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Windir that we have reviewed:
Windir - Arntor reviewed by Alex and quoted 89 / 100
Windir - 1184 reviewed by Alex and quoted 93 / 100
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