Label: Black Spark Records
Genre: Black Metal
Country: United States of America
Release Date: October 31st, 2019
Vintertodt is a Black Metal duo from New York consisting of N.S. (Neil Schneider) and N.R. (Nick Rossi) with Marco Pitruzzella as a session drummer. I was allowed to review it by way of one of the label’s owners (and The Wolf Garden member) Tim Hull. I hadn’t heard of them yet, and discovering a new group is one of the most exciting things about writing reviews. Vintertodt’s brand of Black Metal is ice cold, ripping, atmospheric, and fiercely dark. With touches of Symphonic Black Metal that doesn’t water down the hatred felt within these five songs, this group sounds fresh while harkening to the ancient sound.
Nick Rossi’s vocals are harsh, high, and skull-rattling shrieks; every utterance is filled with the energy of his entire being, with all the pain, malice, and anger on clear display. This style of performance is always initially grating to my ears, but depending on the skill of the performer it is easier to adapt and Nick made it effortless. The hostility that comes from his throat-splitting screeches is powerful and razor-sharp; his voice is dripping in vitriol adding to the impressive attack musically. Some of the screams are held for so long that I became convinced that Nick is at least part banshee.
The music is completely executed by Neil Schneider by way of guitars, bass, and keyboard, and each part is played to further the overall oppressive feeling of contempt. The tremolo riffs are thin, quick, and deadly; cutting, stabbing and tearing riffs sear right through you at every turn. The natural blending of some melody with the sinister attack is well done across this album; though the album isn’t too long the five songs pack a strong punch and leave memorable scars in their wake. Keyboards are used smartly, the organ-like opening on the album sound organic, and the moody melodies always work with the Black Metal instead of working against it. Strategic use creates a great balance, instead of painting wall to wall symphonic notes as many bands tend to do.
Marco Pitruzzella is listed as the drummer on this release, unleashing unrelenting pounding, crashing, and insane double bass rips. For the most part, the drums are manic fill followed by rapid drumming and back to manic fill. On a couple of occasions, most notably on I, the drums are so quick to the point of sounding synthetic; these lightning-fast blasts come in furious and lay waste to everything, so though it was noticeable it didn’t become distracting. On other songs, when the drumming is more moderated, the display is quite the sight, throwing fills in every corning they will fit. Marco certainly leaves his mark on this album by matching or exceeding the intensity that Neil brings.
I – V is a short and violent chop to the back of your neck; ripping, morbid, and crypt-dwelling Black Metal is Vintertodt’s bread and butter. The album art is a perfect visualization of the music, from its dark cavern to the tortured and twisted figure with hollow mouth and eyes; everything within the 22-minute run-time is haunted with residual enmity. Their logo is also a completely solid representation; every aspect of Vintertodt’s image is well thought out and executed.
Overall I found this to be a great piece of Black Metal, and that I wanted more songs. Black Spark Records certainly has a strong start with I-V which makes me curious how they will further curate their roster with new acquisitions. Vintertodt is a harsh Black Metal made directly for fans of old, bleak, and sharp music. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will get my hands on a full-length from Vintertodt, but until then, I have 22 minutes of pure evil to tide me over.
Total Playing Time: 22:03