It can sometimes be heard that atmosphere is a cheap substitute for Extreme Metal. Quite frankly, this idea misses the point of music in quite a large way. Whilst it leaves the opportunity for some truly interesting takes on the genre to one side in favour of a lot of the same. Every once in a while a band like Winter Nights comes around. Described to be similar to bands like Amon Amarth and Kalmah and Behemoth, again this is just limiting. There is something else at work here.
The album is a short six track affair, but there is something underneath the surface. Each song has a complex array of the staples of Extreme Metal. Death Metal grunts with a rough exterior, whilst the pummelling enthusiastic drums and the near constant distorted mess of guitars amounts to a sheer ferocity, but this doesn't get close to the mark. They are melodic, they are brutal, but this is merely the background. There are not many bands that manage this kind of atmosphere. It is melodic and that they share with Amon Amarth but they are vastly different. A closer comparison might be Vehemence, but this only falls for the storytelling nature of going from riff to riff and with an inherent understanding of your sound.
The best recommendation is to just listen to songs like 'Starved for Energy' and 'Unmarked Grave'. Their thorough understanding of the genre manage to make them unique, whilst generic, all at once. It is a powerful mix as the song takes over its listeners to guide from moment to moment. Despite highlighting these songs, there truly aren't many dull moments on the album. Instead it's up to the listener to choose their favourites freely.
For a band such as Winter Nights to know their sound so confidently is a marvel in itself. They really haven't had the amount of time that many other bands have had to find their sound and still not have it. The often disappointing part of the story of bands such as these, is that they tend to stay in obscurity for long periods of times, with only enthusiastic Extreme Metal listeners and explorers discovering them. This will likely be their story for some time to come, but one can only hope that they endure.