Next review: » Winterlong - The Second Coming
Released: 2006, Lion Music
Thorbjorn Englund has gone and done it now. For three albums Winterlong has been a powermetal powerhouse. Their first album VALLEY OF THE LOST stands up as one of the best releases from 2001 and their subsequent 2 albums, with a radically different lineup, are solid collections of metal yet Englund was yearning for a change. That is exactly what the listener gets with Winterlongs 4th CD titled METAL/TECHNOLOGY. The powermetal of the first 3 releases is gone and in its place is a more modern, industrial tinged sound that has very little relationship to the former output of the band. I don’t even know that it can be called a band anymore. The CD is the sole work of Englund. The way in which he worked on the songs for the disc was not conducive to having 5 guys in a studio so Englund played all the instruments on the CD himself.
I can just imagine Englund sitting in his studio at 3 am working on some of these songs. For the most part the atmosphere is much darker than on previous Winterlong releases. Part of that can be attributed to the vocal work of Englund himself. He isn’t the vocal power of some the bands previous vocalists but what he lacks in their skill he makes up with sheer determination and an excellent feel for what each song needs. On “And So We Remember” he sings in a low guttural throaty almost talkative style that contrasts perfectly with the almost operatic female vocals that he sparingly employs. On “The Hunter” Englund switches vocal styles to a falsetto which fits the style of the song which is straight ahead powermetal with some electronic samples thrown in to add flavour. This song is the most like old Winterlong that will be found on this CD. “On a Demon’s Night” is an excellent mix of the “new” Winterlong and the “old” Winterlong. The song is groovy in a chugga chugga sort of way and Englund mixes up the vocals with a bit of everything thrown in. Mix the chugging riffs with flashes of prog metal and this song is one of the strongest on the CD.
Taking the opportunity to record this whole CD himself is probably the best thing that could have happened to Englund and Winterlong. The debut Winterlong CD set high expectations for the band which didn’t really seem to be realized on subsequent releases. “Metal/Technology”, though a departure for Englund, really seems to have set his creative side in motion. The disc is well crafted and recorded and the music is varied and interesting. It will take many listens to hear everything that’s going on in the songs and with Englund’s new and varied vocal style there is always something different to be heard. By changing the style of the band, recording all the instruments himself and taking on the vocal duties, Englund took a huge gamble. The results show that the gamble paid off.
1. THE HUNTER
2. AND SO WE REMEMBER
3. GO TO HELL
4. MY NEVERMORE
5. LIKE SHIPS IN THE NIGHT
6. SHUTTING OUT THE WORLD
7. ON A DEMON'S NIGHT
8. THE TOUCH OF EVIL
9. CLEANING THE MACHINE
Thorbjorn Englund - All guitars, Bass, Vocals, Keys
Leif Eriksson - Drums
Previous review: » Winterhymn - Songs For The Slain