Posts Tagged ‘Windhand’

I love doom. 2015’s doom has been in some places, magnificent. It is the most primal and emotional subgenre; the closest to the progenitor riffs of Iommi and ghostly wail of Ozzy. There has been some triumphs this year in this genre, and here are the Killchain top 10. It contains some of the same albums I put forward to the Sleeping Shaman as my top ten, but some have changed.

10. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – The Night Creeper: A last minute addition to the list, where the Deadbeats swoop in to amaze with their groove ridden psychedelic doom. The journey continues deeper into the bowels of doom

9. A Dream of Poe – An Infinity Emerged: An album designed to wring pure emotion from you in every way. Crooning vocals, mourning riffs and a creaking atmosphere builds into one of the gloomiest pieces of gothic doom art this year. Affecting in the most primal way.

8. Thorr-Axe – The Gates of Winter: Another masterpiece of riffing, a crushing swing of the doom sword to smote the enemies below. Thorr-Axe blend some hardcore tinges into their swelling post metal/doom mix, and the result is a heady album of bludgeon and glacial power.

7. Paradise Lost – A Plague Within: Yorkshire doom masters bring the heavy, the gothic melancholy, and just about everything else in their arsenal to create a monolithic slab of deathly doom majesty. Another prime example of how the golden oldies never fail to amaze or deliver.

6. Pentagram – Curious Volume: A triumphant return for one of doom’s legends. ‘Curious Volume’ sees Pentagram regain their place as one of doom’s figureheads with swaggering groove, achingly heavy riffs and Liebling’s soulful croon sounding better than it has in years. Don’t close the casket on them yet…

5. Shrine of the Serpent – Shrine of the Serpent: A pure evilness abounds in this three track crushing death/doom from these US newcomers. This is the sound of misery crushing you into nothing, with a fetid stench of death about every riff and every vomited incantation. Doomed to destroy

4. High on Fire: Luminiferous: RIFFS! That’s pretty much the whole modus operandi for High on Fire, and ‘Luminiferous’ delivers a metric fuckton of riffs. Matt Pike and co have always possessed this primal power in voice, riff and drum, and ‘Luminiferous’ may be their most definite statement yet.

3. Lucifer – Lucifer I: The sultry, smoky occult doom stylings of Lucifer bring me back to the feelings of joy last year when I encountered Mount Salem for the first time. The groove and the simple beauty of each riff is hypnotic, while the vocal hooks keep you from wandering. Stunning.

2. Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower: The band you rely on to fill Electric Wizard’s space when they’re off watching horror movies and smoking weed. Windhand have an uncanny knack of writing these dense, monolithic riffs that rumble through your very bones. Psychedelic groove that drags you to the void

1.Undersmile – Anhedonia: The scorching primal beauty of ‘Anhedonia’ is clear for everyone to see. Balancing heft with glacial beauty, melancholy with crushing power of riff, Undersmile’s 2015 effort was one of the finest records in any genre I got this year.

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Originally Published here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album-reviews/w/windhand-griefs-infernal-flower-cd-lp-dd-2015/

Windhand have been responsible for two of modern doom’s finest records in the past few years; their bewitching debut and their megalithic ‘Soma’, which I still hold up high as THE best doom record by a new band in years. Their dense, Electric Wizard riffs coupled with a ritualistic vocal and an innate sense of the groove gives them this magical status. Their latest effort, ‘Grief’s Infernal Flower’ comes with an already stellar legacy to protect.

At first listen, opener ‘Two Urns’ isn’t as immediately heavy as ‘Orchard’ was on ‘Soma’. It’s a more trippy groove, almost upbeat, and the solo is a thing of melodic beauty. The instantly recognisable ethereal vocal is what makes Windhand for me. It’s what I imagine Jus Osborn would sound like if he hadn’t spent so much time with horror movies and Satan. And was a woman. That same, irresistible stoner groove penetrates every song on the record, from the soothing rumble of ‘Forest Clouds’ to the tectonic earth mover riff that opens ‘Hyperion’.

A lot of bands want you to believe that they can conjure up the spirit of the 70s, injecting their riffs with bland, attempted psychedelica without truly grasping the core concept. Windhand do it so naturally you’ll almost miss it, like the subtle acoustics in lumbering monster ‘Kingfisher’ or in the creepy ambient parts of ‘Forest Clouds’. You’re almost too busy being crushed under the awe-inspiring fuzz of the riff. ‘Sparrow’ shares the same vibe as Dorthia Cottrell’s solo album, released a few months before, and closer ‘Aition’ is almost heartbreakingly bleak.

Cottrell’s vocals ooze this hypnotising, ethereal magic that entwines itself around every riff, every hanging note with deadly ease. You find yourself hooked entirely in songs like ‘Hesperus’, where groove and croon combine to create that transcendent moment. That moment where you cannot turn it off, you cannot turn it down. Windhand have you when that happens, and they’ll never let go. You might remember reality one day, but you’ll never truly come back to us.

‘Grief’s Infernal Flower’ is not an album that rewrites the book of doom. Windhand have no time for your petty rules and your expectations. Windhand are a band that cast us mere mortals a glimpse into the terrifying, endless void and tempt us, siren-like, to give in. You’ll tell your children of this day; the day Windhand ascended to doom’s broken, monolithic throne. ‘Soma’ was their ascension ceremony, ‘Grief’s Infernal Flower’ is their crown.

I’m getting a holiday next week for the first time in, um, 2 years. Fuck, that long? Urgh. Anyway, my wonderful lady and I are jetting off to the least kvlt place I can think of; Menorca. Quiet, Mediterranean weather and hopefully some quality beer and relaxation time. But, a man has got to have a playlist to crank when he needs a riff. So I’ve made my ultimate SUN playlist. Hint, all the songs have Sun in the title. Yeah, it’s three a.m, cut me some slack.

1. Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

2. Wintersun – Beyond the Dark Sun

3. Suffocation – Despise the Sun

4. Electric Wizard – The Sun Has Turned to Black

5. Boris – Flower Sun Rain

6. Nightrage – The Glow of the Setting Sun

7. Animals – House of the Rising Sun

8. Nightwish – Sleeping Sun

9. My Dying Bride – Like Gods of the Sun

10. Devin Townsend – Sunshine and Happiness

11. Dio – Sunset Superman

12. Windhand – Winter Sun

Lists. Lists are both the bane and the joy of many metalheads’ lives. We are constantly in search of ‘the best death metal bands you’ve never heard of in Paraguay’ or something like that. We seek out the unknown, then attempt to quantify it in top 10s, top 50s, top 100s. Year-end lists are the ultimate expression of our desire to have an unarguable truth in what defines ‘the best’ of something. Yet, as music taste is subjective, we can’t really ever have something that satisfies everyone.

So, in the spirit of listing things, I have collected 23 lists of ‘best of 2013’ from a variety of magazines and websites, and put them into a spreadsheet to try and determine if there is any general correlation between the views of these people on the best records of 2013. Some things were not surprising (Motorhead, Carcass and Windhand did very well), some things were (no votes for new Suffocation? Really?). There were a great many records that only gathered one vote, one suggestion that it was a brilliant record as part of 2013. Some records didn’t appear that I enjoyed (Boris -Praparat and New Keepers of the Water Towers – Cosmic Child) and some that I felt were very poor (Megadeth – Super Collider anyone?) did.

But in the end, I am not here to judge, merely to report. I know what my favourite records of last year were, and most of them were here. Some weren’t. There’s just no accounting for taste eh?So, according to my research, the top records of 2013 are as follows:

1. Carcass – Surgical Steel (a clear winner with 13 votes)

2. Clutch – Earth Rocker and Windhand – Soma (both 8)

3. Black Sabbath – 13 (7)

4. Deafheaven – Sunbather, In Solitude – Sister, Motorhead – Aftershock, SubRosa – More Constant Than the Gods (6)

5. Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury, Autopsy – The Headless Ritual, Avatarium – Avatarium, Beastmilk – Climax, Gorguts – Colored Sands, Kverlertak – Meir, Nails – Abandon All Life, The Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer and Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats – Mind Control (5)

In total, there were 331 different records on my list, many of which I know,many I don’t. But you can bet I’ll be looking forward to finding the ones I didn’t in the near future.