Snow Metal - 23 . 01 . 2015

“Winter - The realm of eternal ice

Snowfall and darkness descends upon the vales of time

Distant caress of the sun's fading light

The lands were painted white with the Winter's might” - Wintersun – Winter Madness

As the cold grip of the snow finally breaks (at least for now) I thought it would be a good time to take a look at some ice cold Snow Metal (how about that, I just created yet another metal subgenre!). When the weather changes and we end up with a dumping of snow and ice I often stick on a CD that’s full of cold wintery metal tunes. The only criteria I have for these songs are that they have a suitable snow/ice/cold themed title.

Wintersun - Winter Madness

You can’t really start something like this any other way than with Wintersun. Jari Mäenpää initially created Wintersun as a side project, and infused the first album Wintersun full of beautifully crafted Melo-Death Metal and cold snowy themes. Lyrically you can’t beat the track 'Winter Madness' for an epic cold slice of metal.

Next on the playlist is Metallica with an obvious choice, 'Trapped Under Ice'. There’s not much more to say about this one, it’s Metallica doing what they do during the point in their career they didn’t suck. Sticking with the ice theme, and being stuck under it, is Blind Guardian’s Under The Ice. Unsurprisingly we can continue the Power Metal and snow theme and add Kamelot to the playlist with their aptly named track 'Snow'.

Cryptic Forest - Winterstorms

Time for a cryptic combo of Black Metal, first up the utterly superb Cryptic Forest and the dark leafy path that leads to the depths of the track 'Winterstorms' from their debut album YSTYR. The whole album has a wintery feel to it and makes for excellent cold evening listening. Following closely is Cryptic Wintermoon with 'Once..In the Windblasted North' taken from the album of Shadows and the Dark Things You Fear. A more aptly named song for winter in the North of England I’ve yet to find.

Ravenage

As we have travelled North into Viking territory, we’ll cover some Folk/Viking Metal offerings. Unleashed have a wealth of icy Death Metal offerings, so it was hard to pick one. I lined them up and, John McClane style, grabbed an icicle and stabbed ruthlessly to see what I’d get. One lost eye later 'Winterland' emerged victorious. Local York band Ravenage offer a more light-hearted wintery treat with 'Winterternia' from Fresh from the Fields of Victory. Finishing off our Viking section are Wolfchant with 'World in Ice', these guys bring a great mix of Folk, Black and Melo-Death to the table, and finally Aether Realm track 'Winters Grasp'. I can’t recommend Aether Realm highly enough, they are utterly superb and well worth checking out.

Cnoc An Tursa

To finish off the list we have the track 'Ever-Frost' by the now disbanded Sentenced, followed by Cnoc An Tursa with 'Winter A Dirge' (they’re from Scotland, so know a thing or two about snow) , Catamenia and the chilly tune 'Coldbound' from Location:Cold and finally a song from the utterly ridiculous but highly entertaining solo project from Luca Turilli - 'Lord of the Winter Snow'.

There were plenty of bands that you would expect to find a track that fits in here, like Frosttide, Windrider or Primalfrost but despite their cold sounding names don’t supply the goods with song titles. I’m sure Moonsorrow probably have some snowy tunes, but I can’t be bothered trying to translate the song titles ('Jumalten Kaupunki - Tuhatvuotinen Perintö', seriously?). Then there are the bands that you could just play an entire album and be transported to the winter wastelands. Either of Immortal Souls albums (Wintereich & Under the Northern Sky) would do the trick, and Grand Magus’s epic album Hammer of the North certainly has the ability to conjure images of icy realms. Which brings us full circle to maybe the ultimate band/album to listen to when it’s snowing outside, Wintersun.

Let me know which tracks you’d choose for a Snow Metal album.

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