Thursday, 10 June 2010

[ALBUM REVIEW] Windbruch - Collision of the Worlds

According to ‘I.O’ the creative force behind one man Russian Band Windbruch, ‘Collision of the Worlds’ is, according to the aforemented, “A Story about a person who is trying to capture his visions and fulfil his dreams, which in the beginning were unimaginable, in the end become reality. It’s an album about dreams, desires, and otherworldly feelings.”
An intriguing foreword and it certainly is an ambitious attempt at creating atmospheric black metal as a concept album on an extremely low budget.
This is the band’s debut release, out on Romanian label ‘Sun & Moon’ and is extremely nature inspired, dripping with influence from atmospheric black metal titans Wyrd and Drudkh. The first track is a simple introduction, purposefully serving as an opener to the album or ‘journey’, with a lightly picked guitar backed up with a similar pattern on the bass, setting a very solemn tone for the album, and this lasts for pretty much the whole album. For all it is ‘atmospheric’ it is also just as ‘depressing’ and could easily be slotted into the DSBM side of things at times, but it’s much more than just run of the mill depressive black metal flipped off as ‘atmospheric’ due to a few samples scattered here and there and an excessive amount of reverb on the vocals, for the guitar riffs undulate with intensity and grandiosity in the same way Drudkh could in ‘Autumn Aurora’. Okay, they are maybe not quite as good, but they are certainly getting there and a lot more can be said about the guitar work in this album than the abundance of third rate Darkthrone riffing doing the rounds these days in this scene. There is more than enough variety in the guitar playing to keep your attention, with lulling picking transforming into convulsive riffing and anguished lead guitar and so forth. I will pick a gripe with the lead guitar though, when it does appear, such as ‘Day VII (Stairway to Heaven)’ and especially the ‘Theme of Laura’ cover, I can’t help but notice it sounds slightly out of tune. Whether this was intentional or not, only IO will know, but it removes from the otherwise fantastic songwriting from IO.
Vocals in this album are very sparse, the main focus in the album is on the soundscapes being created by the other instruments, but when the vocals do appear they are a rather hollow rasp, very distant, and add to the detached atmosphere brilliantly. For once in a black metal album, the bass also plays a significant role, holding the music together cohesively. The drumming I believe is computerised, from what I can tell, but doesn’t really detract all that much from the listening.
Sampling is used a lot in the albums, and at times it just gets irritating, breaking up otherwise promising passages, and wasting time. This is one thing that gets on my nerves with a lot of bands, and ‘Atmospheric’ album does not need to be justified with samples which are deemed to be so, it is fairly redundant. If you must use something, make it interesting and specifically relevant to the music.
Apart from the slight problems mentioned though, this is an impressively strong release from a new band, and if the character of Wyrd and Drudkh coupled with the Nostalgia aspect of Alcest interest you then definitely give this album a try.



Thanks to Robert Sun @ Sun & Moon Records.

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