Introducing Wintergatan: My New Favorite Band (And Yours, Too)
I have become obssessed with Wintergatan since catching the final two songs of their set at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark last month. That’s how much they impressed me; two songs were enough to sell me on the band right away, and I’ve fallen head over heels since. I was so taken with their music that I felt compelled to use my expensive international data plan to listen to their only album on Spotify the very next day, in the airport — I couldn’t wait just a few hours until I was back home.
Wintergatan are not metal. Not even close, save an extended distorted guitar jam out on their album’s (and set’s) epic closer, “Paradis.” But I have a feeling that more progressive and experimental-minded metalheads will dig them — this is music created by musicians for musicians, and musicianship is what drew so many of us to metal in the first place. This band is filled with absolutely incredible talents. Also: they’re Swedish, the most metal of all people.
Stepping into Wintergatan is like stepping into a little toy music box, albeit one that’s been upgraded for modern times with synthesizers and trace electronic elements. The band is a four-piece of odd instrumentation: there’s a drummer and a bassist who mostly stick to their craft (while occasionally switching out), but the band’s other two members switch between playing harp, several xylophones, an accordion, a theramin, a multitude of keyboards and synthesizers and some instruments I’ve never seen in my life. It’s some bizarre shit, and they handle it all masterfully, creating not only epic soundscapes but memorable songs with positively infectious vocal-like lead melodies. I know what you’re thinking: “This is some hipster bullshit.” It’s not. If only hipster bullshit bands were this fucking good.
Live, the band sounded much more powerful and “rock” than on record thanks to the presence of a live drummer whose kit was mic’ed like a rock kit. This guy’s got a pocket so deep you could fit all of Denmark inside of it, and if you tell me he didn’t spend some good years of his life cranking out blast beats in some prior band I’ll call you a liar. I wish the record put his talent more in the forefront (same for the groove-laden bass parts) and mixed the kit as it sounded live, but the album is still incredibly enjoyable all the way through.
Here’s a pro-shot, HD video of their performance at Roskilde. If you want to see what I saw that impressed me so, skip to the final two songs. Go full screen with it so you can see all the details of what they’re playing, and certainly watch it all if you the time. I’ve embedded their music video for first single “Sommerfågel” below. Finally, you can also stream their 2013 self-titled debut in full below via Spotify.
Can we PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get this band touring the States sometime soon? I’ll be the dude in the Slayer t-shirt front row and center rocking out way harder than anyone else.