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Review: Windir - Likferd

Label: Head Not Found
Year released: 2003
Duration: 48:43
Tracks: 8
Genre: Viking Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: February 28, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Readers Rating

Rated 4.37/5 (87.41%) (27 Votes)

When a band releases an album as incredible as 1184, it is a keen double edged sword. Obviously every band wants to write and release a genre defining album, but how do they follow that up? Either they begin the downward journey after reaching the peak, change tack and reinvent themselves, or they possess the vision and musical ability to repeat their defining moment. With Likferd, Windir have done the latter and written an album that follows the style they spent their career developing, delivering another remarkable, near perfect album of Heavy Metal thunder and lightning. It is not quite the classic of metal that 1184 is, but it is close, damn close, and it provides more awesomeness in eight songs than some bands have in their entire career.

"Resurrection of the Wild" is about a perfect opener to an album you could hope for. It is fast and powerful with Valfar switching between his amazing harsh vocals and his proud clean tone from verse to chorus, accompanied by the ever present lead melodies, folksy riffs and wonderful keyboard passages that define Windir's unique take on Viking Metal. Throughout the album we are treated to riff after riff after riff, supported by incredible melodic guitar and keyboard passages, and wrapped up in a perfect production. Windir have a strong Black Metal base, and it is more prevalent here than their earlier albums being faster and harsher overall, but the atmosphere and melody will appeal to a wide range of metal fans. The superb song writing is what this album is all about, and whether you are listening to the neck-breaking mid-section of "Despot", the proud folk ending of "Blodssvik", the furious Black Metal of "On the Mountain of Goats" or the galloping riffs and folksy lead melodies of "Dauden", Likferd offers up a dynamic and variety of music that you will find impossible to get tired of as it really is all about what's best for the song and how the song fits into the flow of the album. For my mind it is the furious blasting and riffing, the accordion-like keyboards, the swirling melodic lead guitars, and the uplifting folksy melodies and vocals that carry it through to a stirring epic finale that marks "Fagning" as the highlight of Likferd. You feel like you are being told a majestic tale of a heroic journey and this feeling is evident in each track.

It is easy to hear the huge influence Windir had on the Viking and Folk Metal scenes with bands like Myrkgrav and Sorgsvart owing much of their sound to them. Likferd is another example of proud, upright metal that will appeal to fans from all walks and sub-genres and it is a real tragedy that this was their last album. Valfar's death from hypothermia in 2004 after being caught in a snow storm on his way to his family's cabin is a loss that the metal community will feel for some time to come. Overall I personally do not find Likferd to be quite as good as 1184, but damned if I can express exactly why in words. It's something that all real music lovers understand though; there is just a little something extra stirred into 1184 over Likferd, but I can easily see why others may feel the opposite way – there really is only that much separating the two albums.

Other related information on the site
Review: 1184 (reviewed by Brett Buckle)
Review: Arntor (reviewed by Brett Buckle)
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