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piano based metal with poor vocals - 68%

odradek, July 9th, 2008

Winds aim to play an "easy listening" style of metal. The tempos are slow, the vocals are clean, and the central instrument is the piano.

Imagine a 5-piece prototypical metal band, with drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, and vocals. Now replace the rhythm guitar with a piano track. This is essentially Winds' sound.

Conceptually, the piano has more than enough tonal range to replace the rhythm guitar, and carry the songs' focal melodies. But notes struck on a piano don't have the wealth of overtones of those produced by a distorted guitar; a few rhythm guitar notes go a long way in filling up the sonic spectrum, but not so with a piano track. The overall sound is therefore not quite as harmonically rich as one is accustomed to hearing in metal.

It is unfortunate, therefore, that Andy Winter opts to play repetitive, hookish melodies, along the lines of what you would expect to hear a rhythm guitar play. I wish the piano parts were a bit "busier", so that the ears would be challenged a bit more by the piano melody. Winter is certainly capable of playing more complex lines, as can be heard in the closing seconds of the track "Mirrored in Time", where the other instrument voices abate and the piano line flowers into a beautifully ornate piece of art.

The drumming on this album is understated, and sometimes resembles the lifeless tick of a metronome. Carl August Tidemann's lead guitar lines are tasteful and compelling for the most part, and contribute some of the album's highlights.

In spite of the above criticisms of the instrumental parts, I still think this could have been an enjoyable listen with a better vocalist. Lars Eric Si's vocals suffer from unsteady pitch, a frail vibrato, and an irritating nasal whine. The self-pitying lyrics only reinforce the perception of the vocals as weak and quivering.

Winds deserve some credit for taking an original approach to metal. But ultimately, there are some problems with the formula used here.