Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Windhand: Soma (2013)

Less Wizardly

It's no secret that a lot of bands make their careers copying other bands. Even the bands that don't do that, still do it sometimes. Well, if that's your goal, you could do a lot worse than copying Electric Wizard.

Windhand do just that. When reviewing their split with Cough a while back, I said it's "heavy, slow, and so warm and fuzzy it’s like lying back on a bed of chinchillas." The vocals I compared to "Frankie Valli on tranquilizers." That's a pretty damn good start, and they've kept all of that intact for the full-length.

And really, it's hard to go wrong with that formula, once you get the sound right. The sound is beefier than the Arby's menu, to be sure. I also love the vocals, and the occasional solos are good enough. I have absolutely no problem listening to the whole record on those merits alone.

Sadly, it doesn't have a whole lot more merit than that. Their contribution to the aforementioned split was two songs over 18 minutes. One was slightly faster, and one was slower. But Soma is 76 minutes long, and goes for roughly the same pace throughout. The only real dynamic shifts are a 7 minute acoustic track (which goes at the same pace as the rest), and the acoustic parts of the 30 minute closing track. And then wind noises. Yippee.

It's never a good sign when a reviewer starts tallying up minutes. If you want to go for this long at the same pace, you're going to have to get a lot more creative with the riffs, or play around with some other dynamic feature. Otherwise, you can't expect anyone to take much notice, even if you do sound great.

The Verdict: 3 out of 5 stars

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