I knew another dreamy landscape woven in heavy electric fabrics was waiting for me during the first listening session of WINDHAND’s new album, but I only needed a couple more to realize that this time they’d scored a “nothin’-but-net” for the genre.
Being a constant traveler from their two full lengths to their two splits and back again, I was starving for new material and without missing any time, they graced me with the most mature mixture of ethereally destructive notes they’ve ever composed. Before you get any funny ideas, nope, there hasn’t been the slightest change in their style and when it comes to this particular band and this point of their career it is absolutely for the best.
As the spiritual children of ELECTRIC WIZARD that they are, once again the motive of the heavy – as – fuck/take-it- or-leave-it riff is ever-present and by God, what earthshaking and soul piercing riffs Bogdan and Morris have pulled out of their magic pouches yet again. When I thought I could not love one of their songs more than “Winter Sun” or “Woodbine”, they start of their new opus with the trio of “Two Urns”, “Forest Clouds” (from the SALEM’S POT split) and “Crypt Key”, delivering me a gigantic punch right in the guts.
Truly, when that rumbling sound from the guitars and that amazing bass kicks in, I get butterflies in my stomach, just like in the first days of my stoner metal searches, when I was discovering all the great ones of this genre. Their mesmerizingly thick sound played in SLEEP-like speed, mixed with the ever flowing sensation created by their production and Dorthia’s voice is an one way ticket to mental fields of saddened bliss, where the invocation of thoughts and feelings reigns supreme.
Two important aspects need to be noted here. Firstly, “Grief’s Eternal Flower” is one of those albums which are filled with tracks which, in other cases, could unanimously be mentioned as “the best song on the album” and that shows its true strength and the level that WINDHAND have reached with this release. I mean, in their previous two releases there were one or two songs that were obviously greater than the rest, but here? Here the blows are coming nonstop.
Secondly, I personally am very elitist when it comes to the separation of doom and stoner metal. I strongly believe that both genres have crucial elements the other has not, so I am really skeptic when I see the term “doom” being slapped on everything that is being released on the general “realm” of the heavy sound nowadays. However, WINDHAND is one of those few bands that have accomplished that exact thing, meaning perfectly blend doom and stoner metal together, and good God I love that when it happens. They have the deep, raw, booming and unmistakable sound that the stoner forefathers taught, yet their riffs and notes carry the emotional weight, the seriousness and sweet melancholy only doom metal has touched; and that last aspect is of course elevated by Dorthia Cottrell’s one of a kind angelic voice.
It might be because I’ve always had a soft spot for clean vocals over really heavy music, but her voice speaks directly to my soul. Infusing traditional doom vocal lines with an ethereal, mellow essence she weaves her way into my mind and my innermost feelings; and although the feelings that derive are mostly dark ones, her sweet yet powerful, vibrating tone works simultaneously like a soothing lullaby. Another element that makes her stand out from many other singers of that genre are the grunge touches that add a Cobain-esque twist in her performance, along with the introverted, almost dream-like lyrics ( the vocal lines from “Crypt Key” for example seem like an outtake from “Bleach”). During the two heartbreaking ballads, “Sparrow” and “Aition” she sounds like a female version of Dax Riggs or Townes Van Zandt. She is undeniably gifted with a spine chilling voice and it goes without question that everybody needs to check out her newly released s/t LP.
“Grief’s Infernal Flower” is a definitive step in WINDHAND’s career because without changing their ways from the first day, it’s the album that elevates them from underground heroes to one of the most (or in my opinion, THE most) exquisite doom/stoner bands out there. Let the night fall, close your eyes, and let their sound wrap your existence like the heaviest blanket in the universe.
P.S: The thematic of sadness and sleep running through the album is just genius.
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