The Link-Up Spell: Spells recommendations from the month of July
Today we’re reading arcane scrolls from Vintersorg, Mordenial and EVA CAN’T. Step into the magical circle, close your eyes and enjoy the ride through the melodic planes.
Thanks once again for visiting The Link-Up Spell. In this iteration of this Elfic never-ending tale, we are going to welcome you into a new set of reviews with a twist we really hope you to like.
In the final weeks of every month I will serve you as an emissary of the music to reach for the quintessential melodies and the tributes to the imaginative lands of way beyond the Stars. My quest is to unveil the best spells I find to share the knowledge we find each month with you, my fellow magical searcher.
We are going to open scrolls from Sweden and Italy. We have three great magicians’ guilds that lend their powerful spells for us to use and enjoy. Prepare your catalyst and spellbooks!
Spell book: Vintersorg – Till Fjälls, del II.
Type of spell: Ancestral knowledge applied to natural summoning.
Coming back in circles is a dangerous practice for a lot of bands, but it seems Andreas ‘Vintersorg’ Hedlund (Otyg and part of the Borknagar project) paid his golden coins to the creative deities to return to a previous form without leaving behind the traces of his present progressive representation.
In a traditional fashion, with his Vintersorg project, Hedlund cements his cult status in the folkloric niche of the global metallic scene; crafting a carefully composed homage to the deep roots they cast to forge their path since 1996.
The double album Till Fjälls, del II (“To the Mountains, Part II) is a direct continuation of their laureate debut, that generated quite a buzz when it was released in ’98, around the exploring age of the folk infused metal experiments.
To resume their sound to the non-believers, Vintersorg work is sparkled with bursts of progressive additions to their Viking metal monolithic style. With a tight songwriting and an immaculate eye for the melody, Hedlund summons rays of contrasts between their intricate musical backgrounds.
This new album is probably motivated by his last work withBorknagar, Winter Thrice, and is also the return of the old ways of the pagan metal.
It is worth noting that Till Fjälls, del II is a piece crafted on the current times, and this is highly noticeable on the production of the record. The ultra clean recording, mixing and mastering was completed by Hedlund himself, and while it may detract some extreme metal purists, it could welcome the progressive music fanatics. All the instruments have their own space and the keyboard high quality sampling makes the listening a true marvel to enjoy.
Moving to the album writing, and like I previously tried so hard to appoint, Till Fjälls, del II is a stripped down effort, a style left behind in their discography since the first era of the project. In this case, all the experimental sections that made Vintersorg a referent on the extreme progressive metal guild are exchanged once again for expansive and sharp folkloric black metal riffing, harsh cold vocals and ancestral chantings. This is pure Viking metal, reinterpreted through a crystalline mirror and the reflection of the northern lights.
The record is an agora for ear-catching choruses and massive verses that clashes with mountains of carefully positioned keys. Vintersorg unique incredibly rich baritone tone narrate the journey without missing a note or catching out of time, aided by his long-time collaborators, Mattias Marklund and Simon Lundström.
While some listeners can certainly point the long extension of the whole album, it is one of those works of art that demands the correct time and mindset to get swallowed into the triumphant and nature-worshiping nature of its core.
I just ask myself, will these magicians continue with the “Elemental” saga they were developing after this fun break? I hope so!
Acquire this Spell book on Napalm Records. Follow the trails of these magicians on Book ov Skulls.
Spell book: Mordenial – The Plague.
Type of spell: Melancholic pestilent destruction.
Hailing from the lands of Sweden, the young band, Mordenial, have a difficult task to conquer: Prove themselves as a new face on the melodic death metal game on one of the most fertile terrains of the genre.
With The Plague, their second full length, this three-piece band cuts guts and throats with a clearly defined mixture of thrash metal infused tempos and well formed melodic sentences.
Dealing with the concept of the almighty plague conquering the realms of humanity in every part of our fragile history, the band borrows some elements from their comrades In Flames or the late At The Gates era to push the lyrical content with mood changes and masterful riffing.
The guitars really stand out. The strings are mixed with sharp ferocity, paired with a dark rhythmic section that cements the correct match between concept and execution.
Even when they are influenced by the second wave of the genre, the tasteful melodic riffs circles around like a serpent asphyxiating the prey, an empowering achievement constantly displayed in the whole round record.
Songs like “The Plague”, “No Empathy”, “All Has Vanished” and “Emotions” follow this compact structure, but even when the thrash inspired attack on the verses is drawn with the Gates of Ishtar or Ablaze My Sorrow template, what truly stands out is that Mordenial made this recipe their own and the whole listening is honest and emotive.
Even when the vocal delivery is the standard on this style, the varied guitar playing, the solos and the on-point compositions makes this a truly recommended record. In all these years searching actively in this genre, I felt that Mordenial wrote a piece that reeks of the older melodic death metal bands with the tight song structure of their newer counterparts. Do not miss this spell if you are a melodic hunter, like me.
Acquire this Spell book on Black Lion Records. Follow the trails of these magicians on Book ov Skulls.
Spell book: EVA CAN’T – Gravatum.
Type of spell: Bardic vivid calmness.
I must confess. This was a very difficult album to tackle. For the first contact, I did not know what to expect from this band’s name and the promotional text.
Passing the threshold, I pressed play and I was welcomed by a wall of cinematic synthesizers and keyboards, but that was transformed quickly with a folk tempo and an unexpected melodic riffing that popped out from nowhere. This is clicking out with me.
EVA CAN’T is a band that describes them as “dramatic metal”, a tag that is totally understandable when the vocalist Simone Lanzoni starts to sings with his incredible baritone style. His style resembles poetry pronunciation and the romantic Italian language accentuates this style. Think of A Forest with Stars if they made progressive metal with melodic death riffing.
Gravatum is a long record, but the band is so precise with the tempo switching and the arrangement changes without sacrificing the expressiveness of their concept that this is just a minor detail. Just like their Italian brethren, the band is perfectionist with the elegance and the presentation of the music.
Mastered by Giuseppe Orlando (from the Italian masters of Novembre and The Foreshadowing), the band have a solid display of their respective instruments. The drums lead with marching beats and correct moody swings; bass gives a solid ground for everyone to embellish the pieces; keyboards enriches everything at their pass; guitars are incredibly unwoven onto the melancholic style with the usage of every tool available for them, from acoustics to extreme metal mastery; and, of course, the rich Lanzoni’s work is up on the front, like a bard commanding the vivid tale of the forlorn and the hopeful.
Only in the first track, “L’Alba Ci Rubò Il Silenzio”, there is traces of folk, prog atmospheric metal and melodeath; and the best part of this is that the music does not feel tired at all! Then, “Apostasia Della Rovina” comes with the yearning growls, the rondo vocalization, the blast beats and the poetry recitation that the listener can agree with me, EVA CAN’T delivers a solid melancholic metal.
Novembre or Moonspell are, perhaps, two bands that can be approachable to the EVA CAN’T style, but they are not exchangeable at all. These guys are sailing with their own will, and this is what this genre needs.
Did you liked these spells? Which were your favorite scrolls crafted on July? Scribe thy comments and remember to stay here at Toilet ov Hell for more inspired contents and new recommendations.
The Link-Up Spell is a weekly Toilet ov Hell column about music, movies, books, retro video games and guaranteed Elfic nonsense. If you want to contact the author to send your material, mail us at toiletovhell [at] gmail.com with the subject “The Link-Up Spell” or message him on social media.