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Wintereve - October Dark Award winner

October Dark
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 21 February 2021, 7:44 AM

WINTEREVE is a gothic melodic death/doom band from France. They formed in 2013 and "October Dark" is their second full length album. They also released a demo in 2014. "October Dark" actually came out in April of 2020 but it is now being reissued by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. I am very thankful for this because I somehow missed this ridiculously fantastic album the first time around. Had I heard it a year ago, "October Dark" would have definitely made my best of 2020 doom list in some capacity. Well now it has as chance to make it to the 2021 list.

Simply put, this album has just about every thing I could ever want in doom metal of this style. I don't think it is perfect—it could do with more variation in riffs and maybe a couple tempo changes here and there. But those quibbles aside, this album is the style and sound that helped dive deeper into metal in my younger days. That isn't to say WINTEREVE is a copy cat. Far from it but their sound captures the gothic doom atmosphere of old school MY DYING BRIDE, PARADISE LOST and even lesser known bands like PARAMECIUM and LORDS OF THE STONE.

The opening track, "Olima," opens with clean keyboard and riffs that balance  melody with heavy riffs. The cleans keys and guitar achieve a perfect harmony with Mary's haunting clean vocals. Around the 2:33 mark, her abilities are further reviewed with some truly nasty and emotive death growls. She is raw and powerful; with a pair of headphones on, she sounds like she is right next to me.

Actually the whole album sounds like this…a very live, in person feel but with studio quality. Dan Swano once again proves his work in unquestionable. Armand knows exactly how each instrument should work in context of the sound. A melody line accompanies a vocal line at just right moment or the distortion gets full pedal when aggression must rear its head.

"Sea of Suffering," does such displays–the opening is melodic to set the stage for the mournful song but dies down just in time for Mary to appear like a ghost in the fog. Mary's operatic vocals are a welcome addition and they feed off the layer of death growls well. I love the guitars and bass after the first chorus–they push the song forward but also honor the beginning. After the five minute mark, the riffs and drums pick up on the aggression while Mary growls her heart out.

The title track is beautiful in a way only doom can be. The quiet nearly spoken word vocals are gentle yet tragic. The guitars are funeral level sad but nothing else could work here. The solo towards the end is a natural extension of the song itself but the drums give it all much needed urgency and fervor. The first minute or so of "Forgotten," wouldn't sound out of place on a black or death metal album. Mary's death screams are especially raw and throaty on this song which helps keep up the intensity until the more extreme guitars return.

"Down The Path To Perdition," is the final track, a massive eleven minute song that is almost immediately crushing and lost. Keyboards add more despair to the mix and the slow pace (LOVE IT) just takes every emotion along the way with it. Any fan of Gothic death/doom absolutely has to hear this album.  If you missed the hey dyes of gothic and doom metal then you need to hear this album.  Hell, any fan of metal needs to at least give it a chance.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Olima
2. Sea of Suffering
3. The Quiet Desperation
4. October Dark
5. Call of the Void
6. Forgotten
7. To Die In Your Arms
8. Down the Path to Perdition
Armand – Guitars, Keyboards, Bass
Mary - Vocals
Seeklone – Drums
Record Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions


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