St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
Greetings! Today, in honor of the rather shitty and out-of-season weather we’re having, I’m going to stretch my self-imposed limits just a bit and feature the brilliant and groundbreaking death/doom metal pioneers WINTER from New York City. To this day, their debut masterpiece Into Darkness (1990) has yet to be paralleled in all its trenchant and agonizing half-speed glory.
In fact, I’m not sure anybody else has really tried to mimic the trademark CELTIC FROST-at-16 1/2-RPM death/doom approach WINTER so readily perfected. DIVINE EVE may be a close runner up, and the obvious OBITUARY would almost be there if your tape copy of Cause of Death melted a bit in your car. But those are fleeting comparisons, as neither of those bands had the fortitude to force the listener through a full 45 minutes of Into Darkness‘s punishingly plodding and down-tuned dirge
If you still can’t quite picture it, you know what to do. Be patient through the foreboding instrumental opener “Oppression Freedom / Oppression (Reprise)” and you’ll be rewarded with a death (DOOM!) metal experience like none other.
ARGGHHHH. The timbre this album achieves is worth its weight alone: that dripping tone threatens constantly to overwhelm everything, only to be outmatched by a rolling tank of a percussion section and terror-stricken vocals showing just the right amount of fevered strain. Groaning funeral dirges or lilting neo-romantic mourning WINTER are not. Instead they manage to convey a post-apocalyptic hopelessness perfectly in line with their grainy cover photo: a world where all individual hopes are slowly vanquished as they are subsumed by the bleak reality which has befallen them.
I hope I haven’t left you in too much despair and you’ve enjoyed our temporary descent into the formless void. Next week’s “X” band is sure to be a formidable challenge and I look forward to meeting it for you. Cheers!
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