Wintarnaht - Hriuwa


Key Facts

Country: 🇩🇪

Genre: Pagan Black Metal

Release Date: 31st January 2021

Record Label(s): Talheim Records 

Band Members

Grimwald - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Lyre, Shaman drum, Mouth harp, Drum programming

Winternaht - Hiruwa

Rating (out of 5🤘): 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘
Favourite Track(s): Hriuwa, Urlagfrôwa, þe Hreôgot, þez Hraban Swarzi Trahanûn, Firhazzêt Truhtîn, Runagaltar

Wintarnaht is a rarity in music not just black metal, as it is the only known band at this moment in time who's lyrics are all in Old High German, an archaic language approximately spoken between the years 650 and 700AD. This uniqueness gives the music an extra edge as the listener explores vast black metal soundscapes that put you in the heart of the Early Medieval Ages. Wintarnaht (which means "winter night") definitely brings and archaic sound to their music, rooted firmly in traditional sounding black metal with interweaved traditional instruments and chants, not too dissimilar to Harukruunu, Bathory and Windir. Through epic melody and bruising riffs, Hriuwa is a rich and beautifully crafted tapestry of Old German and modern black metal.

The album starts with an eleven minute epic that gives its name to the album. Which effortlessly blends traditional instruments, epic vocal chanting with melodic and raw black metal, which sets the tone outright for the rest of the album. There is a significant blending of influences that are prevalent in the album, the grooving, slow riffs are very reminiscent of Darkthrone for example, but each are crafted in a unique way, giving the album a distinct sound. Grimwald's vast vision for this album is achieved by using a vast array of tools and instruments, which help build a thick and dense atmosphere. With it's sheer grandiosity and ambition it is relatively easy to draw various comparisons to Havukruunu's epic Uinuos Syömein Sota, except with a darker and more raw edge. The song that best draws to this comparison is þez Hraban Swarzi Trahanûn, with its powerful and triumphant, melodic riffs accompanied by rousing choruses of clean vocals, it sets itself up easily to be the stand out track on the album. Conjuring up imagery of the mighty battles in the heroic age, with the back drop of vast mountain ranges shrouded in frost, mist and snow. Even though you get all the genre hallmarks of relentlessly bruising drums, spiralling leads and unyielding tremolo runs, the more folk elements really make the album stand out, adding rich textures and layers to the album. They also spark various passages of dynamic change, leading the songs into more ambient environments which in turn gives the song significant variation and intrigue. With the average song length coming in at seven minutes, this is not an album for the feint of heart, with each song becoming more exciting and intriguing as the one before it will set in motion a whole rollercoaster of emotional responses as your imagination whisks you away to the far reaches of Old Germany. The Old German lyrics have a guttural and aggressive tone throughout the album, the use of an archaic language is a fascinating one and adds to the air of mystery the album creates. Whilst some sounds can be recognised to the modern ear, it is surprising how real and living the language sounds, reuniting us with a long forgotten linguistic past. With that in mind and the use of the folk instrumentation it gives the album so much more depth and uniqueness. Overall, the album is a fine example of expertly crafted, for inspired atmospheric black metal music, which offers far more than just tremolo riffs and blast beats. 

The album's production is phenomenal, combining raw atmospherics with rich layers and textures to create a sonic masterpiece. The drums thunder through the mix with a deep, weighty punch alongside a snare that snaps like a snarling dog. The cymbals seem to grimly shimmer and glisten in the cavernous reverb. The rhythm guitar tones are equally balanced on either side with a cold, icy distortion, underpinned by a growling bass. The lead guitar tones float into the cavernous sonic soundscape, shimmering like icicles. The synth and folk instrument layers add a rich fullness to the rest of the sonic space, the droning synths accentuating the guitars. The various vocal layers evolve and become more phenomenal as the album goes on, often rearing up on both left and right sides to create an epic atmosphere. Overall, the production contains that traditional black metal rawness and has developed it into a constantly evolving force, whilst simultaneously evoking a mysterious and intriguing atmosphere. 

If you fancy some intriguing and exciting black metal with an Old Germanic twist, then listen to the crushing new Wintarnaht album, you will not be disappointed with Hriuwa!

Winternaht - Hiruwa


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