Windhand, from Virginina in the U.S., have already distinguished themselves as one of the most promising and intriguing bands of contemporary doom metal. Formed in 2008, at the important stage of 10 years of activity the band has released this year what may be potentially their breakthrough record. Their new LP, called Eternal Return, is the fourth of their discography but, differently from their previous releases, it’s deeply marked by the ambition of the band to expand their musical horizons and, at the same time, to consolidate what could be considered their special and unique style.
Whilst keeping intact the founding elements of their style, including the slowness and the obsessiveness of their guitar riffs, Windhand have now injected into their sound many other elements taken from other genres, first of all grunge and stoner. Such new influences were incorporated in a way that feels absolutely brilliant and natural, and they had also the side effect of further enhancing the performance of all the band members, starting from the fascinating Dorthia Cottrell whose voice reaches in this Eternal Return peaks of pure class and intensity. In the song Diablerie, just to mention one notable case, she seems absolutely at ease at singing over grunge melodies; in other tracks she also shows a timbric variety that was sincerely unsuspected for what we could appreciate until today.
Another aspect that can be definitely highlighted is that Eternal Return makes grater recourse to variations in rhythms and atmospheres between the different songs. This makes the album much more enjoyable to listen as a single uninterrupted flow, from the beginning to the end, or even in repeat mode (as I actually did the first day I came across to the LP, when it run in background for about three hours). Some of the band’s previous works where more focused on the obsessive repetition of the same sound and basically the same rhythm, a stylistic choice that we had appreciated and that, from a certain point of view, allowed them to convey particular feelings of anxiety and obscurity.
Today we can enjoy a new chapter in Windhand’s evolotion, where the band is experimenting a different vision of music, brighter and more varied. In this sense Eternal Return stands as a turning point in their career. We will see in the years to come if this LP will sign the point of origin of a new stylistic roadmap or rather this will remain in the annals of Windhand’s history as a unique, appreciated, episode.
Highlights: Diablerie, Grey Garden, the opening song Halcyon and Eyeshine.
Selected music from Eternal Return is featured in SLOWLY, the playlist with the best of doom and sludge. You don’t need to be fast to be strong!