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Vintersea - Woven into Ashes Award winner

Woven into Ashes
by Kevin Lewis at 13 May 2023, 4:10 AM

VINTERSEA is a five-piece band from Oregon with a penchant for longer songs. Ranging from Progressive to Melodic Death Metal, they cover a lot of ground within the Heavy Metal realm. They infuse their music with sonic imagery that often is translated into epic video presentations. Woven into Ashes, the third full=length album from the band, was released on May 5, 2023, via M-Theory Audio. Haunting, discordant guitar tones open “Unveiling Light” before the song truly kicks in. After the guitar work, the voice comes in clean with subdued drums and base that will drop out for a moment while the clean vocals fade out and prepare us for Avienne’s growls. She has two distinct harsh tones; deep, menacing lows and eerily beautiful higher register notes. She uses those to great effect on this song, weaving her way through the guitar leads and fills.

Karl and Jeremy are a fearsome pairing. They are as technically precise and powerful as any rhythm section out there. Couple that with the twin guitar attack of Jorma and Riley for one of the most well-rounded groups of musicians playing today. “Devil’s Churn” is a fantastic example of this. The rapid-fire riff draws power from the blast beats and absolutely hammering bass line. Where “Devil’s Charm” was the complete heavy track, “Crescent Eclipse” goes the more melodic direction. Avienne uses her lower end cleans, which I can only describe as sultry mixed with haunting. I will say, I’m glad to hear more of her higher cleans on this record. It really feels like she has pushed herself to new heights. Granted, everything about VINTERSEA has improved, they’ve grown tighter and more in tune with each other as they progress.

At The Gloaming Void” has such a beautiful heaviness to it. The opening scream, the technical guitar work, the precision rhythm, it all works together in such brutal harmony. I love how the bridge and solo go melodic instead of completely shredding. The dichotomy of tempos and patterns compliment each other really well. For a more Progressive Metal infused tune, “Parallel Duality” is the track you’ve been looking for. One thing VINTERSEA has done over their first two albums, and they continue here, is bringing in an element of the random. Sometimes it’s a jazzy horn segment, this time, it’s an 80s influenced Prog Rock section. That middle section of the song could be from an old RUSH or YES song, yet here it is on a melodic Death Metal album in 2023.

Both “Lonesome Tide” and “Into The Horizon” open with a gentle introduction. “Lonesome Tide” swells early and turns quite heavy. The extended vocalizations, followed by the harsh vocals play beautifully off each other. The repeated patterns of light and heavy, gentle and harsh have the effect of the tides ebbing and flowing. On the other hand, “Into The Horizon” never tries to accelerate, preferring to stay calm and relaxing, like drifting through the clouds weightlessly. The longest song at just under nine minutes is the closer, “No Tomorrow.” It has an extended opening with almost Gregorian style chants and ambient, ethereal guitar work. That grows into a full blown Melodic Death Metal song. There are also shifts to temperate guitar work with asynchronous drum work before going back to the pure heaviness. There are definitely more Progressive Metal elements in this track.

VINTERSEA is one of those bands that has incredible range with their instrumentation and the voices. Their technical proficiency is amazing. They have very precise shifts and twists; any instrument can take the forefront as each of them are equally skilled. It all comes together in a wonderful soundscape that is both pleasing and challenging. It takes a number of play throughs to catch everything they layer in, from the backing vocals to the strings and pipes, everything is meticulously planned and executed.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Unveiling Light
2. Devil's Churn
3. Crescent Eclipse
4. At The Gloaming Void
5. Parallel Duality
6. Lonesome Tide
7. Into The Horizon
8. No Tomorrow
Avienne – Vocals
Karl Whinnery – Bass
Jeremy Spencer – Drums
Jorma Spaziano – Guitar
Riley Nix – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Record Label: M-Theory Audio


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