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Winter Storm – Relapse in Time

Winter Storm
Relapse in Time
by Rachel Montgomery at 16 October 2019, 4:48 PM

Formed in England in 2008, the Melodic Metal band WINTER STORM blend intensity and melodic harmonies in a unique way, making their music stand out from the rest. Their third studio album, “Relapse in Time,” hit streaming last month and is available to download. The music is elegant and the harmonies throughout the songs are done magically.

The intro track is what it says on the tin – an ambient, acoustic opening building into the next song. It builds in intensity through the song, pushing a beautiful, melodic guitar riff into a full Metal instrumental. It sets the tone for a musically progressive album that I look forward to hearing.

The drum rolls and piano at the end of the last song lead us straight into the next track, “Dreamscapes.” The melody is beautiful, mixed with soaring symphonics that take you into another world. My one complaint is that the vocals were buried behind the instrumentals in production. They’re clear, ethereal and fit with the theme of the music, but they’re too buried in the mix. Apart from that, I liked that the song didn’t have a traditional verse/chorus outline; it made the track unique.

Colliding Skies” gets right into the main melody and the first verse. I love the duet between the male and female vocalists because it’s clear and beautiful. However, I wish they would turn their sound up, so they’re not buried by the instrumentals. While the instrumentals are magnificent, especially the tone shift near the end of the song, they still bury the vocals which is a problem for me. The guitars soar and have nice harmonies with the synthesizer and keyboards.

Defy Me” begins with more traditional, lower guitars. It travels into more run-of-the-mill symphonic stylings, especially with the dueling guitars paired with the vocals. Like the last three songs, the vocals are buried. The movement from melody to melody in the instrumentals is stellar, and again, the harmonies are solid.

In Time” has a slower lead-in like a ballad, demonstrating it is the slow song. The echoing vocals in the background somewhat work in this song; they’re still buried, but the softer effect makes this song more soothing and elegant. The guitar solo is lovely, utilizing slow melodies and thrashing sweeps to create a wonderful song. Of the tracks I’ve heard, this one has my favorite techniques with the harmonies and guitar-playing.

Lifeless Plan” is a shorter, thrashing song that opens with machine gun guitar sweeps and pounding synthesizers. The way the vocals are set up further into the first verse, on their own between spurts of speeding guitars and drums, makes the come through a little more, but barely. Arrangement-wise, it was a good choice to have a short, punchy song after the long, melodic ballad.

Thought Machine” begins with tinkling synthetic notes juxtaposed against a longer guitar melody. It carries the same problem as the rest of the album, and at this point, it’s so pervasive that I’m assuming it’s a problem throughout the album. I held out hope rather than not bothering after a few songs due to the beauty in the instrumentation. However, this song started out wonderful and the background, echoing vocals just dampen it.

Ever Dark” begins with an intricate, gentle melody at the beginning. Then it builds into intense, soaring melodies, thrashing sweeps, and all sorts of beautiful harmonies. “Final Parting Glass,” the closing song, does the same, but it’s shorter. Notably, the vocals are louder and almost in front of the instrumentals this time. It’s a beautiful ending to this elegant, sophisticated album.

Overall, it’s beautiful, but it’s unclear to me whether the vocals are buried intentionally or not, and it honestly dampens the album for me. I think of vocals as the centerpiece of songs, so when they’re behind instrumentals, I strain to hear what they’re saying. To clarify whether the vocals are the focal point, they need to bring the vocals forward, or just make this album an instrumental. With the harmonies and instrument play, it’s great.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. Dreamscape
3. Colliding Skies
4. Defy Me
5. Astral World
6. In Time
7. Lifeless Plain
8. Thought Machine
9. Another Lost Light
10. Ever Dark
11. Final Parting Glass
Lineup:
Hannah Fieldhouse – Lead Vocals & Lead Guitars
Wayne Taylor – Rhythm Guitars
John Bradley – Keyboards, Orchestration, Samples & Backing Vocals
Andrew “Hawks” Hawkins – Bass Guitar
Nathan Hutchins – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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