Released: 2002, The End Records
Winds are a completely new band to me but I am familiar with the works of many of the band’s members as I’m sure are many of you. The band is from Norway and is comprised of: Lars Eric Si on vocals (Jack In A Box, Sensa Anima, Khold); Carl August Tidemann on guitars (Arcturus, Tritonus); Jan Axel von Blomberg (AKA Hellhammer) on drums (Mayhem, Arcturus, Kovenant); and Andy Winter (perhaps the true mastermind behind this album and the production) on keyboards. It’s not just the line-up that makes this CD so interesting and worthy of checking out; it’s the musical composition and arrangement. The blending of metal with classical orchestration is exceptional. The band employed the use of a full string section thanks to members from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Musically, what you can expect from Winds is clean vocals, piano, lots of classical sounding string sections - sometimes alone, but mostly mixed with the rest of the music. The lead guitar playing by Carl August Tidemann is amazing. He can really shred when need be. The song tempo’s are nearly all mid-paced. Don’t look for a million miles and hour double kicking happening here. Sure, there are parts with that element but that is not what sets the tone. One place where the drums and guitars rip it up is in the song “Passion’s Quest.” The solo section in here is very classical sounding, Tidemann obviously listened to some Yngwie in his formative years, but don’t worry he’s no Yngwie clone. Right after this solo section the heaviness is brought down with a “stand alone” string section with spoken word over it. Sounding a small bit like Moonspell on the spoken parts. The following track “Reason’s Desire” is again another that stood out for me with a very cool almost Vintersorg like vocal melody line in places and excellent lead guitar playing. “Remnants of Beauty” is another song that really caught my ear with it’s upbeat tempo and jaw-dropping lead playing. In all, there are sixteen tracks on REFLECTIONS OF THE I, but some are shorter pieces of music like “Transition” or “Premonition.” The last thing that I have to mention about this album is the amazing sound. The guitar sounds (rhythm and leads), the drums, the mixing of the classical instruments with the “metal” are done incredibly well so much that is noticeable.
Fans of bands like Arcturus, Vintersorg, Yngwie Malmsteen, My Dying Bride, and even fans of the classical elements of Rhapsody should give this a listen. Unlike Rhapsody, Winds relies more on the classical elements in the music and less on speedy riffing and fast drumming. I will not bother trying to classify what style this band is because they defy fitting into one category. Yes they fall under the large genre of heavy metal, but you will hear sounds of: progressive, neo-classical guitar shredding, classical, atmospheric, mellow, etc worked into the mix. Winds are definitely an adventuresome and creative band. Don’t look for raw metal here, the main things you will get from this is melody and atmosphere…not something to bang your head along too (well in places you can), but an album to sit back and take in as a piece of fine art.
So here you have yet ANOTHER fine release form The End Records, a label which has been collecting some very fucking cool bands like Winds. For more information visit the URL’s below:
North American Label: http://www.theendrecords.com
Official Band Website: http://www.winds.nu