VINTERSORG – The Focusing Blur

VINTERSORG - The Focusing Blur


Napalm Records
Release date: February 16, 2004

Guitars: C
Bass: A
Keyboards: C
Percussion: B
Vocals: C
Lyrics: A-
Recording Quality: A-
Originality: A-
Overall Rating: B

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Vintersorg has successfully established himself via previous efforts as being able to master the complex, intuitive, and imaginative aspects of Metal music with lyrics driven from scientific principle and theory. The Focusing Blur falls right in line with his earned reputation. In this new CD, Vintersorg effectively mixes traits of Death and Black Metal with Progressive and Power Metal – oh yeah, he also throws in a hint of Classic Rock via periodic vocal delivery similar to The Moody Blues, and his sporadic spray of bizarre lyrical content with free-lance vocal technique would have even made Frank Zappa proud!

Wrap all of this together, and we have a truly diverse and original sounding Metal album that delves into uncharted realms of Metal’s potential. The Focusing Blur is an excellent name for this release — the name in and of itself is an oxymoron. The music is nothing less. There are as many Death Metal chants as there are vocal passages that could be confused with The Moody Blues. There are as many jazzy bass riffs and fill-ins as there are guitar power chords. There are as many Mensa IQ-driven lyrical compositions as there are inane and undecipherable couplings of scientific and metaphysical theorems. The fun part of these somewhat illogical pairings is that Vintersorg shifts gears from one mode to another … and does so at the blink of an eye without missing a beat! Even better, for the most part it works!

Going out on a limb, I’m going to create another new sub-genre of Metal music at this point, and label Vintersorg’s style Eclectic Metal. His basic framework appears to be Progressive Metal, but there are too many Power, Death, and Black Metal tendencies (and the lyrics are simply in a class of their own) to commit Vintersorg entirely to any of these sub-genres.

Getting into some specifics, The Focusing Blur is comprised of 12 tracks, 2 of them are primarily short instrumentals. Both of these instrumentals are flat out weird. The first, Track #1, is a mixture of stringed instruments, keyboards, and bells, and has a Beatles “Revolution #9” feel to it. The listener definitely gets a sample of what they’re in for after hearing this track. The other instrumental is Track #11, which is a majestically morbid Eclectic Metal song that begins with some ominous cello work. Eventually, various stringed instruments are added with other orchestra accompaniment to create a pretty well written composition that serves its gloomy purpose.

Track #2, “The Essence,” essentially encapsulates what the entire album is all about… there’s a nice acoustic intro with a touch of classical music thrown in, then it shifts to Death Metal havoc, only to morph into the Moody Blues mode mentioned above. Multiple shifts between these musical types become the routine for this song, along with a scholarly lyrical style.

Track #3, “The Thesises Seasons,” delves more into the Progressive/Power Metal mode. Here Vintersorg takes on a multi-layered musical approach whereby the instruments are forced to follow the rapidly complex lyrical pattern, however, the base musical structure still continues in the background. It’s interesting, if not a bit “busy,” but Vintersorg and his guitarist, Mattis Marklund, pull it off somehow.

Obvious keyboard use is first notable in the next track, “Matrix Odyssey.” The general keyboard style here, as is usually the case in subsequent tracks, solicits a light “ghostly” feel … almost like the Disneyland Haunted House would convey … not “evil” enough to make the listener uneasy, but enough to get the point across that Vintersorg’s Black Metal past has not completely left his blood. Overall, the keyboard work is the least impressive aspect of this CD … there’s enough diversity of sound and style to go around as it is; adding keyboard fillers really wasn’t necessary and kind of comes through as overkill.

When you have such complex lyrics and song topics, the risk of not being able to mesh in suitable music that flows along exists. This unfortunately happens in track #5, “Star Puzzled.” The scientific banter simply obstructs the ability of this song to flow smoothly … and enjoyably.

After this “halfway point” in the album, something happens and the CD gets noticeably better (encouraging news, because the first half wasn’t half bad!). To put my finger on it, Tracks #6 – #10 and #12 tend to be less skittish and shift less from one musical form to another. Each song still demonstrates its share of eclecticism, but specific patterns are adhered to more consistently, thus making these songs easier to decipher and to establish a listening groove. Also, 4 of these 6 tracks include periods of Death Metal chant lyrics, but not as prominent as in the first half of the CD. Vintersorg kind of gives the impression that he’s choking when the Death chants are at an elevated volume…when the volume is a bit more subdued; they actually come through pretty smoothly and unobtrusively.

My favorite track is #10, “Curtains.” It’s Vintersorg Eclectic Metal at its peculiar best. The song contains piano interludes like what used to be heard in old American Western Saloons (Cowboy and Indian era) and has an off-the-wall vocal pattern similar to a deranged British school teacher – sort of like what was included in Pink Floyd’s The Wall, when the infamous line “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding … how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat!?” graced the airwaves.

Vintersorg shares some of the guitar duties with Marklund, but indeed is the mastermind behind his two-man band – he plays all of the other instruments, and believe me, there are more instruments included in The Focusing Blur than brain cells left in Ozzy Osbourne’s cranium. If you’re game for something completely different, check this one out, because Metal simply doesn’t get more diverse or bizarre than this … more importantly, the music’s good!


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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