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Wino - Forever Gone

Forever Gone
by Eric Poulin at 11 August 2020, 4:19 AM

WINO is a doom/stoner metal project out of Maryland, United States. The project started in 2008, containing mostly the solo material of Scott Weinrich, arguably one of the biggest legends in the doom genre with such bands as SAINT VITUS, SHRINEBUILDER, PLACE OF SKULLS, THE HIDDEN HAND, SPIRIT CARAVAN and THE OBSESSED. Under his solo moniker, this is the third full-length release entitled “Forever Gone”, released on June 26th 2020, on the Ripple Music label.

While his career has spanned decades in the genre, WINO has been known to experiment in the heaviest distortions and the most crystal-clear acoustics. This album essentially covers a few years-worth of material gathered in a full-length release.

The opener “Forever Gone” follows more of the second love of this artist, with some very loud and reverberating acoustics. The vocals are here are much smoother than his more distorted material. He sounds very calm and mature, and most surely at peace on his vocal delivery here. Honestly, this is the type of song you could play to anyone who enjoys acoustic guitars and they will surely appreciate it, without knowing Scott’s musical ventures and background.

What follows in “Taken” is different in that it mixes the same clean guitar sound, but adds a grittier layer in some higher electric notes. The mix is extremely well done and conveys that feeling of sadness and dismay perfectly. I can assure you the song is not of the uplifting variety but is played with a lot of honesty and truth. The overall emotion in the music is highly comparable to ANATHEMA and to some extent STEVE VON TILL. I have always enjoyed the storytelling portion to these songs as if you re listening to a prophet playing the guitar in front of a fire and exploring the stories of life.

While “The Song Is at the Bottom of the Bottle” is a slower, almost more blues-oriented number, again relying heavily on the acoustic guitars. Trust me the images this song reflects are of the smoke-filled bars, with everyone having a good share of alcohol and drowning in the sorrows of the singer (something this song actually talks about in the lyrics).

Essentially the entire album follows a very familiar pattern in the songs, some do have a bit of a positive edge such as “No Wrong” that you could compare to the acoustic passages of IRON MAIDEN or maybe even some ALICE IN CHAINS material. While I would not say the song has a country feeling to it, you can sense that kind of atmosphere overall, except when you have those heavy ear-ringing guitar solos.

There are some great songs on this one, such as the epic “Dead Yesterday” which is all about appreciating the present, the moment and trying to stir away from regrets of the past. Not to mention the more folklore-oriented track “Crystal Madonna” that has TOM PETTY quality to it, even in the delivery present here by Scott.

The closer “Isolation” which happens to be a JOY DIVISION cover is a complete change of pace with the pounding bass rhythms and percussion. It is by far the more rocking moment of the album and an excellent choice to close off what is a very introspective album. While I am not that familiar with the original, the overall energy exuded in this one is very heartwarming.

Honestly, I did not what to expect from one of the all-time legends in a gene that has grown and evolved in the last 15 years to a collection of musical styles and directions. WINO here shows off the love for the acoustics, but also gives us a nice window into the soul of the greatest minds in doom and stoner. If you want to listen to something different and bring you into a completely different mood of introspection, this is a good album to do so.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Forever Gone
2. Taken
3. The Song Is at the Bottom of the Bottle
4. No Wrong
5. Dark Ravine
6. Dead Yesterday
7. So Fine
8. Crystal Madonna
9. Lavender and Sage
10. Was, Is, and Shall Be
11. Isolation (Joy Division cover)       
Jean-Paul Gaster - Drums
Scott "Wino" Weinrich - Guitars, Vocals, Bass
Record Label: Ripple Music


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