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Winter’s Breath - Stories Left Behind

Winter’s Breath
Stories Left Behind
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 20 March 2023, 9:36 AM

WINTER’S BREATH is an Austrian one man black metal project, formed in 2020.  ‘Stories Left Behind’’ is the second full length album from the mastermind, BL.  He has also released two EPs and four splits under the moniker. I wanted to like this album more than I did.  Musically, I find it to be fantastic—I crave atmospheric metal and much prefer it to the old school ‘troo and kvlt’ style because the genre is adventurous and imaginative.  As a whole, ‘Stories Left Behind,’ hits that spot.  However, the production on the album is…off.  It is hard to say exactly what is wrong with it but the album’s sound is very bland and flat.  There isn’t any energy or feel to it–nothing pops out through any of the songs because of just the way it is presented.

The vocals aren’t that great either.  They aren’t terrible, and I have heard much worse, but they come off as goofy and corny most of the time.  One of the best elements of atmo black is the harsh vocals contrasting with the more subdued musical approach.  But when the music is buried behind uninteresting production and off putting vocals, nothing really adds up to an experience that I’d want to revisit too many more times after I’m done writing this review. But the songs are well written, even if the execution is off.  After the obligatory intro of ‘Stories Untold,’ ‘The Watcher,’ begins with monotone clean vocals that don’t excite me but I liked the layer of riffs.  The subtle keys add yet another layer while the song stays focused on the riffs.  But, again, the vocals just take me out of it.

‘Irrglaube,’ features a nice build up with keys mixing well with the riffs.  Soon, the song turns aggressive but the production makes the song move along with a whimper instead of a bang.  These faster paced parts don’t sound any more energetic than the more introspective ones, and that is a problem to me. ‘Endless’ has a massive, encompassing sound…or it should rather, if not for the album’s unwillingness to really let the elements shine through.  I enjoy the sudden burst of speed and the aggressiveness that comes with it but without bite, the bark doesn’t seem quite as effective. All in all, this isn’t a terrible album but I can’t say it is anything more than just slightly above average.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

1. Stories Untold
2. The Watcher
3. Rote Rose
4. Irrglaube
5. White Void
6. Zerstörer
7. Endless
8. At World's End
9. Stories told
BL - Everything
Record Label: Independent


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