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Formerly a one-man band, รก la Trent Reznor, black metal vocalist Valfar finally expanded the lineup of Windir to a full band on 1184. The classically influenced sound of the band is much more fully realized with the addition of these members, bringing them much closer to the forefront of the movement that bands like Emperor and Mayhem have led since the early '90s. Featuring some amazing composition skills on "Todeswalzer" and "1184," at first the band seems as though they have finally found the perfect mid-ground between black metal and classical music. But as the songs go on, the band slips further and further towards the metal side of things. Even their blatant attempts at blending the genres, "Heidra" and "Journey to the End," go too far in the other direction and sound more like heavy metal blended with new age. But there are some really good, fresh ideas and riffs to be found here, and, despite the varying experimental tendencies, this still documents a band trying to do more with the genre than most metal bands. Black metal fans will want to give this a listen, and even brave classical fans might want to hear this at least to find out what a metal band can do with a lot of ambition.

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