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An epic monumental album that could be more so - 85%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, April 20th, 2017

Since forming in 2014, this one-man atmospheric BM project has become quite prolific with four releases in 2016 and (as of May this year) four releases in early 2017, to say nothing of the 20+ other acts W sole member Winter Vampyr has a hand in. (Does the man get any sleep at all???) You might expect that any more releases for the rest of 2017 will be looking a bit jaded but if this album - the second for 2017 - is a guide, there's still a lot of extreme raw aggression and energy in this act.

From start to finish, "Till Eternity" is nearly always on the attack save for moments where the music is on the look-out for enemies and potential targets. The music is constant blast-beat percussion pummel and spiky acid-corrosion-strength guitars add a second layer of punishment. Pure-toned synthesiser amble and drone bring in a contrasting layer of quiet menace that could erupt into open evil slather at any moment.

Everything is so full-on, you need to go through a few spins to fully appreciate what W has done. The more subtle aspects of the recording can be quickly forgotten after all the pounding and screechy guitar-work and vocals that follow. "Frostwarriors" is an early highlight with some very catchy guitar melody hooks and a definite folk influence in parts beneath the sledgehammer attack. Tough gritty riffing alternates with beautifully liquid acoustic guitar melody before they get swept away by another machine-gun attack of jackhammer drumming and noise screech. "Ballade for Moonlight" potentially has a good rock groove but alas it's a very short song.

Past the halfway mark, the songs are longer and feature more instrumental work, some of which is good technically and even inspired, but this does mean the music can be monotonous and wearying. W sticks to a minimal guitars-n-drums framework so there's hardly much variation in the music's sound and the range of moods possible. "Song of the Wintermoon" is quite typical of the songs in this second half of the album: even more aggressive, with hyper-fast blast-beat percussion and more ragged vocals along with paradoxically soothing and glacial background synthesiser hum. "Grief" is slower than the others with epic majesty, drama and anguish; this song really shows what W is capable of but at this late stage of the album, it's probably too little too late.

Individually the songs are not bad and several have good riffing and melodies but when they're put together, they can be really exhausting and monotonous. The music starts to sound a bit tinny and the thinness of the drumming becomes a liability in songs that need more thunder and power than speed and aggression. With better production and maybe some quiet interludes between tracks, this album could have been more monumental than it is.