Review: Winter’s Breath ”Stories Left Behind” [Running Wild Productions]

Review: Winter’s Breath ”Stories Left Behind” [Running Wild Productions]

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User Rating : 5 (2 votes)

Between Our Known Worlds…

On my quest through the Austrian black metal landscape, Winter’s Breath might be the odd one among the folk I’ve encountered in my homeland recently. There’s a symphonic element to their sound, but their/his (another one-man act here!) main inspiration in terms of guitars and stylistic foundation could be considered classic Norwegian BM as it’s the case with a slew of others, though that would only be part of the charm.

After you’ve grown accustomed to the basic premise of the material, their brand of black metal shows distinctive variations between songs. Most of them seem to wander off into a somewhat different direction individually, meaning that e.g. “Zerstörer” puts an emphasis on thrashier elements (which works well with BL’s raspy yell) while “Irrglaube” uses keyboard/synth patterns along clean guitars to amplify the somber and foreboding elements of Winter’s Breath‘s music. Strange, Gollum-like spoken word passages lead through sections of “The Watcher”, questioning your sanity. Most of this is pretty compelling and makes you guess what’s gonna happen in the next track, which is always an efficient tool to keep the listener’s attention up throughout a record.

I’m not sure that each and every ingredient thrown into this mix works entirely (“White Void” seems to experiment with off-key lead guitar sections that kinda rub me the wrong way a little, as does the chorus-ey, kinda out-of-tune-ish guitar outro in “Irrglaube” but of course, there’s a greater chance of slipping when you’re branching out this far. Yet I’d rather have a bunch of these more playful, bolder acts in the spotlight instead of another copycat version of early Darkthrone clogging up potential BM playlists.

Either way, you’ll find an abundance of exciting content on this CD that warrants a purchase of Stories Left Behind, especially when you’re on the hunt for something that straddles the line between tradition and dares in the black metal genre, with a quality backbone to boot. There’re enough “classic” riffs to be grim about and the variations are “artsy” enough to be cool with those lamenting a lack of innovation in metal.

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