After exploring the progressive metal realm with Visions Of The Spiral Generator, Andreas Hedlund and Vintersorg returned in 2004 with The Focussing Blur, their most ambitious record to date. The grandiose themes about physics and astronomy are back in full swing and once again the collective talents of Steve DiGiorgio (bass) and Asgeir Mickelson (drums) are brought in to provide the necessary musical muscle.
And with good reason, because the material on The Focussing Blur is very challenging in terms of technicality, progressive wizardry and other avant-garde inspired elements. The folk influences that dominated the older Vintersorg material are all but gone. The Focussing Blur is a concept album of sorts on which the narrative parts provided by Lars Nedland (Borknagar, Solefald, Age Of Silence) keep the whole thing together.
Songs like The Essence, The Thesises Seasons, Star Puzzled, A Sphere In A Sphere? (To Infinity), Blindsight Complexity and Curtains are very convincing, but overall speaking The Focussing Blur is too complex for its own good at times. The previous record had a better balance between technicality, musical adventure and memorable song material. That’s partly compensated by the musical prowess of the individual band members and the awe inspiring vocal performance by Andreas Hedlund, but it does remain this albums Achilles’ heel.
As on Visions From The Spiral Generator Andreas Hedlund is the man in the production chair and he once again did an outstanding job sound-wise speaking. It adds an air of majesty and sophistication to the complex material on the album.
The Focussing Blur is Vintersorg’s most progressive and ambitious album to date. It’s a daunting musical adventure, but at times simply too complex for its own good. It’s not a fan favourite, which is quite a shame really. Despite its relative shortcomings it still has enough to offer to satisfy even the most ardent progressive rock and metal adepts.
Written by Raymond Westland