Released: 2011, Forcefield/Mordgrimm
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
This one gets the “Pleasant Surprise of the Month” award. From the doom rich soil of Richmond, Virginia comes Windhand, a five piece doom metal Sasquatch that’s worthy of your attention. The band’s self-titled debut is a handsome slab of dreary goodness that recalls the spaced out drone of Electric Wizard and the sinister riffage of Cough. So yes, it’s pretty heavy, and yes, it’s pretty awesome.
The band may follow a familiar formula, but the end result is impressive. Slow, spooky, ominous riffs that foreshadow certain doom stagger across the album’s five tracks, stumbling into walls and knocking down the good china in the process. Wrapped around the dense collection of riffs are the wailing vocals of Dorthia Cottrell, who really directs the procession. She sounds more like a wounded Scott Reagers than your typical doom metal ingénue, which I found particularly refreshing. And though there’s not a bad track in the bunch, “Libusen” and the hefty “Winter Sun” turned out to be particular favorites of mine.
There’s something about the simple, straightforward approach to the songs on WINDHAND that really won me over. Sometimes less is more, and I think the band gets that point. It’s an easy listen that most doom fans should appreciate and I’m eager to see what kind of buzz the album generates once it receives an official release (hopefully out any day now). Which by the way, the album will be available on CD and vinyl via Forcefield Records and Mordgrimm Records respectively. Doom connoisseurs would be wise to keep this one on their radar.