"For Winter Fire"

By Lord Randall

From the opening Morricone-styled theme that opens ‘A Vision From Hildskjalf’, it’s obvious there’s something a bit left of center about Kentucky’s SEIDR. After a few moments of sparse yet expansive guitar, a traditional doom riff crashes against the cliffs, intended to let us know that the band is more than just another “atmospheric” band with no sense of diversity. Well-written, and well-thought out the tune may be, but the production is completely and utterly rugged (read: balls), and takes away from the sense of envelopment you’re supposed to feel when the chops are so obviously there. If it’s intentional, if the dichotomy of raw guitars doing battle with – and oft’ conquering – skillful arrangements is something I’ll come to actually appreciate over time, I can’t say. On first listen, though, it tends to be a bit off-putting, which was maybe the idea to begin with.

 For some reason the same damn thing I was bitching about before works during ‘On The Shoulders Of The Gods’, loose-strung bass and abrasive riffs invoking the feel of the motherfucking gods themselves reaching down from Valhalla, Olympus, Louisville or wherever and giving humanity a good, sound bitchslap. ‘Sweltering’ merges clean picking with harsh bellow, pounding drums furthering the ritualistic, percussive tone set forth thus far on For Winter Fire, while ‘In The Ashes’ brings to mind SORGELDOM or even early NEST with its subdued, rhythmic meter and somber vocals.  SEIDR finally hits the apex of their sound’s duality during ‘The Night Sky And The Wild Hunt’, the rough-and-regal execution working in tandem to create what can only be called solid doom. ‘A Gaze At The Stars’ gets tedious at times, but is less a case of the band running low on steam and more a desire to see them do a little internal exploring and thereby quash the predictability factor to nil. Closer ‘Stream Keeper’ is 14+ minutes wherein near-drone ambience joins moaned intonation, resulting in an ideal (if expected) ending.

I’m still far from married to the production aesthetic in certain spots, and the originality quotient could stand a subtle shove upwards, setting For Winter Fire further apart from the metric ton of doom/ambient/death hybrids vying for our attention these days. SEIDR’s solid when they want to be, though, and has me holding out for next time with high hopes.