|Review: Ice Vinland - Vinland Saga|
Year released: 2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: February 18, 2009
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.31/5 (66.15%) (13 Votes)
It took nearly 10 years, but finally the successor to Masters of the Sea has arrived. Well, here, that is. The album was released in 2007, but I only found out about it this past December and I ordered it right away. Ice Vinland's first full-length was recorded with a budget originally meant for less than half the songs it contained (if memory serves), so they had to cut corners. Yet, I can't count how many times I've listened to it. It's not perfect, but it has a little something that draws me back to it every so often.
Vinland Saga (by now you must have clued in on the Viking thematic of the band) is not without its charms itself, but it doesn't have that je ne sais quoi that always brings me back to the debut. The band's songwriting has obviously matured, and they certainly sound like a tighter outfit, and from what I know they didn't stretch their recording dollars as much this time around. But where Masters of the Sea shined in its rawness and simplicity, not to mention its all-out epic feel, Vinland Saga leaves some of that out and mixes in a more "standard" Heavy/Power Metal sound - think mid to late 80s Maiden (including some Seventh Son-ish passages) with a small dose of more recent German Power Metal. The vocalist borrows a lot from Bruce Dickinson's style, but with a slightly higher pitch (on occasion a bit overdone, but overall a good delivery — which could have done without a couple of electronic vocal effects that really fuck up the mood.) You still get a few epic/Viking-sounding songs, but the majority of the album is just your average Heavy/Power Metal, with only a few hints of the Ice Vinland sound of yore creeping in. This needs more tracks like "Battlefield", "Vinland Saga" (fist-pumping epic), "Upcoming Foresight" and "Armistice" (one hell of an invigorating solo in that one as well.) The other songs are good, but I don't get the same vibe out of them. But lyrically, those Viking storytellers pretty much stay on track, so at least they're consistent there.
Overall this is a good Power-ish Heavy Metal album, only hurt by the band leaving a bit of its identify behind for a more generic approach to the genre in some songs, and as a result Vinland Saga is not as original as their debut. Someone who hasn't heard its predecessor won't see (hear) this one with the same eyes (ears...), so your mileage may vary.
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Review: Masters Of The Sea (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Masters of the Sea (reviewed by MetalMike)
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