Windhand – Soma

Windhand-Soma-Artwork

By Gruesome Greg

After hearing this female-fronted Virigina doom troupe’s contribution to the Cough split, I was very much looking forward to their full-length album seeing the light of day. That said, it’s taken me a few weeks just to get around to listening to it for the first time. Why? Because with six tracks spanning a superlative 77 minutes, this thing makes Obelyskkh look like Anal Cunt! It’s gonna take a whole lotta heaviness to hold my attention span for such a long sitting…

The band comes barreling out of the gate with “Orchard,” a sludgy doom number that’s a shade shy of seven minutes. Between the looming, lumbering riffs, and the wailing, high-pitched vocals, I must say I’m reminded of YOB. Not a bad start. “Woodbine” seems a little more downtuned, though it adopts a similar, heavy-rolling pace, this one clocking in at a nine-and-a-half minutes. I dig the wah-driven guitar solo somewhere around the halfway mark.

“Evergreen” mellows things out with some acoustic guitar and sickly sweet campfire crooning, before “Cassock” stretches ‘em out with 14 minutes of swirling, crashing and pounding. It might be just as repetitive as its predecessor, but it packs a much more punishing punch. But they really push my patience with the 31-minute “Boleskine,” which could almost be an album in itself. Beginning with acoustic, it takes a couple minutes before getting down to the doomy downstrokes. The problem is that this song doesn’t really go anywhere that the other tunes haven’t been before… it just takes longer to get there. After a while, I find it just becomes background noise, nothing to really hold my attention. True to their name, the track ends with a couple minutes of howling wind.

Nevertheless, this long, strange trip isn’t entirely unpleasant.

(Relapse)

review75

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.