Vindensång’s Alpha has been a long time coming with the band carefully perfecting and adjusting their second full-length and pushing back the release date on more than one occasion in order to completely lock down the sound. Due to be released in 2013, Alpha is a record that’s more than worth that wait and its development time has only added to the weight and beauty of the work.
Vindensång first came to light with 2006s demo Themes of Snow and Sorrow and with 2008s Terminus: Rebirth In Eight Parts... and their inclusion on the Der Wanderer über Dem Nebelmeer compilation (despite “The Reaper and the Seed” being unlike most of their output) in 2010 nudging them further into consciousness, the band took to the studio to prepare for their next record in 2011. Occasionally a band will take many years to create and record their music and from the outside it seems a little too much, yet when an album such as Alpha comes along and that time is heard quite clearly in the threads and landscapes of sound then the album takes on new dimensions and breathes a genuine soul into the proceedings.
Led by Jeffrey Neblock, Vindensång are a trio who tend towards the more ambient side of the musical sphere and with lyrics that speak of nature, our place within it and darkness the band have a certain, albeit slight, black metal aspect to them. This aesthetic filters into the songs via the vocal and yet is never overbearing and instead the sounds flow and move from the core of the song into weightier movements or light passages of reflection. The beginnings of “The Eternal Return” are based in percussive elements and drones that are almost a signature of the band and these initial steps which are reminiscent of Terminus: Rebirth In Eight Parts... serve to bridge the time between the two albums. The track then bursts into life with heavier motions and a vocal which is laden with life’s weight and Alpha transforms into a record of utter gloom. It’s a sad record, but it doesn’t wallow in its misery, rather it takes it within itself and allows that despondency to drive it towards a more fulfilling outcome.
The sea forms a large part of the lyrical narrative for Alpha with Vindensång using its depths and mysteries to form metaphors and images which evoke overwhelming feelings of loss, death and eventual rebirth and “Into the Formless Void” serves to give these ideas substance. The rolling, hypnotic rhythms lead into the tremors of “One Thousand Fathoms” and its occasional clashes of sound which emphasise the tumultuous nature of the world. The piece unfolds as if it is a storm with the gradual, climbing build into louder structures and the strikes echoing thunder and lightning falling over the ocean until it passes by into the serenity from which it came. Alpha is magical in this sense, in that it says so much while doing so very little.
“Lights of the Abyss” – which is streaming above – is a gorgeously wrought work that passes from melody to ambient darkness and back again and treads paths of utter beauty while doing do. Neblock’s vocal is heart breaking in its emotion and the sadness that rises through it and into the aura of the song is tangible in its burden. Vindensång are adept at creating landscapes of sound which channel into your own hopeless thoughts and with their words they tap into the very deepest parts of the soul and its need for cleansing.
The focal point of the album lies with “Within the Womb of Creation” and the extended running time allows Vindensång to work on a much wider scale and incorporate much more in the way of texture and substance. Cycling drones echo throughout the piece and sitar’s add to the overall feeling of otherworldliness that the band have built up during the album as a whole. Sections of calm are perforated by progressive synth lines that add new dimensions of ambience to the work before sorrow-laden guitars enter the fray and lift the song to higher planes of longing. The final moments are monumental in comparison to where it began and the song rushes forth towards an explosion of sound which leaves you breathless and somehow centred all at once.
“Water-Bearer” closes Alpha on a slow, instrumental piece with laps at the shores of the mind in gentle, peaceful waves. Vindensång have forged a record which speaks to the soul and repeated listens will reveal more and more in the way of acknowledging the longing we all have for often wanting to let it all go and start again and Alpha’s crests and troughs will echo long after its movements subside.
Alpha can be purchased via Vindensång’s bandcamp page as a digital or a physical product.