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Windfaerer - Breaths of Elder Dawns

Breaths of Elder Dawns
by Erika Kuenstler at 23 July 2021, 9:38 AM

WINDFAERER, a Black/Folk quintet hailing from New Jersey, are back with their fourth full-length album, “Breaths of Elder Dawns”. With this release, the band have certainly tried to incorporate a slew of elements into the album, albeit with varying degrees of success.

The album starts off with “Oxalá”, in which an orchestral intro slowly builds to a crescendo before launching you into a tempestuous, fast-paced song. Here the strengths and weaknesses of the band become immediately apparent. For example, whilst repetition can be used very effectively to build to a climax, it sometimes feels like WINDFAERER overdo this slightly, making some sections feel drawn out. This is somewhat balanced out by all the elements such as orchestrations, frills and riffs which are added to the song. These give it a diversified feel, and add variation and flare. However, this also occasionally backfires, with some sections sounding crowded and clamorous. For example, “Depletion” has some lovely, almost cinematically epic soundscapes, which add depth and grandeur to the song. However, superfluous violin airs detract rather than enhance these, making parts of the song feel uncomfortably busy. This is partly made up for on songs such as “Into the Mist” and “Starcrossed”, in which this style of song-writing is better executed.  However, it’s only towards the end of the album that WINDFAERER seem to come into their own. “Longing to Ascend” is a melancholic, slow-paced song that lugubriously explores different sonic textures. Here, each influence is allowed its own space to shine, making for a coherent and multi-faceted song. Closer “Entombed In Glacial Waves” carries on in this vein, albeit with a darker and more menacing undertone. Spanning just over an hour, the album incorporates an expansive soundscape which waxes and wanes not just between, but also within the songs. “A Forbidden Path” and “Orchard” offer two short interludes between the otherwise lengthy songs, giving us a small moment of respite before being carried back into the fray.

Overall, WINDFAERER show a lot of potential, and have clearly put a lot of thought and energy into “Breaths of Elder Dawns”. However, the earlier parts of the album in particular feel over-the-top, and it is only later that the band really settles into their groove. If WINDFAERER learn to better balance their music, they certainly have the potential to make some solid releases.

Song-writing: 5
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Oxalá
2. Depletion
3. A Forbidden Path
4. Into The Mist
5. Astral Tears
6. Starcrossed
7. Orchard
8. Longing To Ascend
9. Entombed In Glacial Waves
Michael Gonçalves - Vocals, Guitars, Tres
Itay Keren - Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitars
Benjamin Karas - Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Violins, Viola, Cello, Orchestrations
Michael Muñoz - Bass
James Applegate - Drums
Record Label: Avantgarde Music


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