Artist: Operation Winter Mist
Album Title: Winter Warfare II
This is the first full-length CD from Operation Winter Mist, a Canadian band that plays war/black metal.
This band's songwriting concentrates on war, war, and nothing but war (and possibly also cold). It actually seems closer in spirit to old Bolt Thrower than to the modern cadre of war metal bands, as this is crushing, snarling, mid-paced metal extolling honor and sacrifice. In execution, though, Operation Winter Mist is probably most similar to second-wave black metal classics like Darkthrone and Gorgoroth.
The guitar sound here alternates between a rumble and a higher tone, giving the album both depth and definition. The drumming is straightforward, but surprisingly varied, as these songs have everything from blast beats to slow, triumphant drumming. Vocals are a deep, clearly intelligible snarl, especially appropriate given the quality of the lyrics.
The songwriting on this album is quite good, and while the subject matter isn't exactly original, there's more than enough variation here to keep the listener engaged. There are plenty of well-placed breaks and changes to compliment the main theme of each song, and the slower passages add a lot of atmosphere. "Iron Coffin" is especially notable, with its vivid lyrics and ripping guitar lines. Speaking of vivid lyrics, you'll definitely want to check out the booklet for this one. There are some excellent descriptions of battle here, very evocative and powerful.
If you're interested in war metal, but have a taste for a more mid-paced sound than fellow Canadians Axis of Advance or Conqueror, this is definitely the album for you. Recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Blood on Ice", "At All Cost", "Iron Coffins"