Another installment in my series on new Viking metal from unexpected places.
Last year, a two man Malaysian group called Viniir released their very first demo "The Story Chapter 1". It features just three songs and has a total run time of about 16 minutes.
For a debut demo, this release is surprisingly solid. The sound quality is a little rough and fuzzy, but in a way that really doesn't detract from the music. The songs are solidly composed and the performances are fairly tight. It sounds like it could easily have come from a more experienced band. The vocals have a good throaty rasp to them that suits the style well, and there are occasional deep chorus chants mixed in as well. Musically, the band sticks to metal instrumentation, leaving synths and folk instruments out of the mix. They do employ some sound bites for atmosphere, but these are used quite sparingly. The guitar riffs are solid, though a bit repetitive. The guitar tone is fairly typical of bands in this vein. And, again as usual in Viking metal, the drumming is good but not a central feature. The bass is basically inaudible, but that's pretty typical too.
By now, you've probably noticed that I'm using the word "typical" an awful lot. That's because it really is the most appropriate word I can think of to describe this release. Now to be fair, this is a true rookie effort. Neither of Viniir's members have never released anything else with this or any other metal band. Plus, they're in Malaysia, isolated from this music scene. I think those two things are key here, because this seems like a couple guys who like Viking metal and just wanted to make a Viking metal CD. They've succeeded in doing that, but without any real character of its own. Nothing separates this band from the pack yet, except their place of origin. They're new to this, though, so hopefully they can find a way to build on this foundation in the future and find their own voice.
Good, perfectly listenable, but basically unremarkable.