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WINDHAND – SOMA
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Windhand’s slow crawl to the top of the current doom scene has been a delight to experience. After their much anticipated, self-titled debut of 2012 and this year’s excellent showing on a split with Cough, Windhand seem set to leave a trail of utter desolation in their wake.

Soma is Windhand’s sophomore effort and it builds on the debut with more atmospheric woe and emotion than you ever thought possible. Windhand take a smoky glance at the tribulations of life and the dread that is conjured by the knowledge that death awaits us all.

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Soma gets straight down to it with the mind-bending rhythms of “Orchard” in which Dorthia Cottrell’s voice sweeps into hazy being around some truly mesmerising, crunched down guitar progressions. Cottrell imbues her words with a smoky resonance that picks at the fragments of reality and swallows the heightened textures of Asechiah Bogdan’s and Garrett Morris’ guitar into a pit of black light. “Orchard” and indeed the album as a whole, has no business being this damn catchy and the hooks are as memorable as those of past masters showing that Windhand are adept are writing terrifically heavy, tangible songs.

“Woodbine” wraps Cottrell’s voice in misty, cloying, heavy tones of guitar that soak into the oppressive atmosphere while sudden and gorgeous lines of guitar lift the track from a place of utter blackness to engage you in simple, yet glorious melodies that flow freely and without hesitation despite the obvious darkness of the lyrical content.

TonyLynch1“Evergreen” shifts gears a tad and allows Cottrell’s vocal to take center stage and the un-obscured tenderness of her voice imbues the minimally progressing song with an ethereal charm that sighs and catches the winds of life. It’s a dramatic turn for Soma and the record takes a sojurn into a new dimension of wistful memory with this slow-burning ode to entropy and showcases again, that Windhand can write a bloody good song. This allows the following track, “Cassock” to pack even more of a weighty punch before final track “Bolskine” moves from the shadows in sultry, undulating tones of desire.

The thirty minute, monolithic track veers from all out doom to sections of soaring guitar, to crunched down, weighty bass, to atmospheric howling winds and back again while maintaining a constant flow and steady and deeply sensual rhythm. Your body reacts to the music without your brain really knowing what’s happening and that’s when the pure, unadulterated pleasure of sound takes your mind on a journey to other worlds – a manoeuvre that Windhand perform quite spectacularly – and other planes of existence. It’s an experience that warrants repeated listens in order to take in just how big the scope of the band is and while, truthfully, not much really happens in the closing minutes, the ascension to another level is worth the wait.
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Soma is released on September 17th via Relapse Records.

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