'Cosmic Genesis' - Vintersorg (7/10)
In progressive music circles, the genre of black metal seems to get a treatment as if it were the plague. Even many metalheads themselves can't bring themselves to develop a taste for it, although diehard fans of the genre swear it is one of the most atmospheric and emotive styles of music in existence to date. With Vintersorg's 'Cosmic Genesis,' it appears as if there is a perfect album for those who aren't into black metal (or other extreme forms) but are interested to look into it. Strong melodies and intelligent instrumentation mixed with some more primal, heavy sounding riffs makes for a very well rounded metal album that a much wider variety of listeners should find appreciation for.
One of the biggest points of contension people seem to have with black metal are the high pitched screams which dominate and help define the genre. While these are indeed present in 'Cosmic Genesis,' the main form of vocal delivery rests on the deep and strong clean singing of Andreas Hedlund, at times verging on being operatic in nature.
Strong melodies and some rocking guitar riffs are the order of the day for over half of the album. The second half of the album has some golden moments, but it doesn't seem to quite measure up to the high level of consistency and quality that was blessed upon the first four tracks. The only track here that could have been left off is the cover of the Uriah Heep track 'Rainbow Demon,' which while performed admirably (and having a very good medieval- sounding intro,) is weak from it's irritating chorus. 'Naturens Galleri' is another track that doesn't match up to the stronger tracks, but it has some interesting folk segments that I wish the band would have elaborated on, on 'Cosmic Genesis.'
The album is full of great black/folk metal tracks, although the highlights would undeniably include the opener ('Astral & Arcane,') the title track, and the powerful ballad 'The Enigmatic Spirit,' which incidentally convinced me to check out this album after hearing it. While I think the highly melodic nature of this album will help at least a few people open up to black metal as a whole, an established listener to extreme metal might find this a little tame.