Words About Music
The doom metal genre is responsible for creating some of my favorite heavy metal records ever released. Sleep, Electric Wizard, Kyuss, Pallbearer, Om, Stone Titan, Orange Goblin, etc. have all put out some incredible, slow-burning, heavier-than-an-elephant’s-ballsack albums that you should definitely check out if you’re looking to make your way into the genre. One band I can definitely add to the list is Virginia five-piece Windhand, who juxtapose heavy riffs with lo-fi Chelsea Wolfe-like acoustic tracks. This makes for a dark gothic atmosphere that sort of defies traditional doom metal music, which finds itself in desert atmosphere, fantastical settings, and even parties.
“Soma” is the second album from Windhand, who are not afraid to test their audience’s patience (the final track is 30 minutes long). They definitely seem to be influenced by Mastodon, Electric Wizard, and Alice In Chains, among others. But one of the most interesting things about this record is vocalist Dorthia Cottrell, whose voice is extremely eerie, soaked in reverb, and fits in very well with the atmosphere of this group. It almost becomes another instrument. And even though she’s a female, Cottrell’s voice still has the power that befits most doom metal vocalists to just add so much to the group’s sound.
It is absolutely possible that some could find this album tedious and repetitive, but I think that this has always been a part of doom metal’s appeal. I mean, Sleep released an hour-long song called “Dopesmoker.” That’s pretty much the 4’33” of doom metal. This idea of being repetitive has also significantly helped the doom subcategory or “drone doom” to become another important figure in the world of heavy metal. “Soma” just sucks me up into its world like a vacuum every time I listen to it. It must be something about the guitar tones and the way those drums sound that draws me in. It’s one of the most truly fascinating doom metal releases I’ve heard all year.
While a lot of doom metal/stoner metal bands are one-trick ponies and pretty much do the same thing over and over again, Windhand refuse to let themselves be thrust into the metal has-been trash bin. They’re equal parts Electric Wizard and Giles Corey, making depressing, overbearing, gloom-n-doom metal that I would definitely call a must-hear for any lover of heavy metal. There’s not much too it, but it’s an excellent album. What more could you want?
SCORE – 9.2
FAVORITE TRACKS – All of them, there’s only six
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