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Winter Eternal - Land of Darkness

Winter Eternal
Land of Darkness
by Chris Hawkins at 13 July 2021, 4:08 PM

After our beloved genre of Heavy Metal has now surpassed its fifth decade, it has become a rarity to find a band name to truly grab one’s attention.  Can anyone ever really top BLACK SABBATH, the progenitors of it all?  No.  WINTER ETERNAL, however, is a great moniker under which to perform Black Metal.  The Greek project was launched a decade ago and has now released its third full-length, “Land of Darkness,” via Hells Headbangers Records on June 3rd.

From the earliest strains of “Crossing the Blackest Skies,” it becomes clear WINTER ETERNAL are seeking to invoke a particular moment in time.  The late ‘90s melodic approach of DISSECTION is certainly a valid point of reference though it would be limiting to merely label WINTER ETERNAL a throwback ct.  This is elaborated by the title track which follows featuring a more feral appeal.  The melodies created by the multiple guitar tracks form a heady appeal and the later clean interlude offers a satisfying dénouement to the whole affair.

The intrigue behind WINTER ETERNAL is provided via the fact this is a one-man project.  Soulreaper, in dedicated pursuit of his labor of love, performed all of the instruments as well as the vocals.  Sure, the Black Metal scene has become oversaturated with one-man projects.  Perhaps that is due to the nihilistic, anti-humanitarian ethos running inherently through the genre, but I digress.  This is not the forum for investigations and comparisons of philosophic worldviews.  Rather, what is different in regard to this solo project in comparison to other such albums I have reviewed (and there have been many) is that though “Land of Darkness” contains a singular vision, the content is not overpowered by a selfish bent.  The recording is well-balanced, professional, powerful even.

The fourth track, “Lord of False Reality,” is a perfect example of this highly affecting production.  While the guitars blend harmonies, the bass roars underneath providing added elaboration upon the ideas.  The middle section, yet another excellent clean interlude, perfectly divides the first and second half of the song’s plot.

Overall, “Land of Darkness” offers a familiar strain of Black Metal though not without clever intent and prime musicianship.  As such, it should please the ears of those who also pine for those entrancing days of the late’ 90s when Black Metal really came into its own.  For a truly hypnotic experience, be sure to check out the fifth track, “Crown of Stars,” a killer compendium comprising the myriad elements contained within the entire effort.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Crossing the Blackest Skies
2. Land of Darkness
3. The Illusive Wings of Death
4. Lord of False Reality
5. Crown of Stars
6. Faded to Silence
7. Isolation
8. Shaped by Grief
9. Dawn of Flames (GATES OF ISHTAR cover)
Soulreaper – Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Record Label: Hells Headbangers Records


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