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Winds | The Imaginary Direction Of Time | review | metal | Lollipop
The Imaginary Direction Of Time (The End)
By Daniel Lukes
The battleground where folk, classical music, and metal come to spar has admittedly been one with uncertain outcome, and Scandinavian outfits such as Borknagar, Vintersorg, and Finntroll have often been met with conflicting reactions from fans and the press alike. Norwegian quartet Winds go soft on the metal constituent, despite what you might expect from a band featuring Mayhem/ex-The Kovenant drummer and black metal legend Jan Axel Von Blomberg AKA Hellhammer, preferring instead to indulge in mellow, folky, prog-rock soundscapes saturated with lulling strings, rolling keyboards, noodling Vai/Satriani/Malmsteen-esque guitar explorations, topped with a vocalist (Lars Eric Si) who prefers to preen and croon clean, classical-inspired melodies rather than attempt anything harsher or noisier.
The mood conjured up throughout this third album, The Imaginary Direction of Time, is not the kind of sonic post-industrial claustrophobia induced by the likes of similarly prog-influenced Scandinavian projects such as Ved Buens Ende or Virus, but instead it's decidedly closer to the more upbeat, euphoric-meets-melancholic ponderings of Vintersorg, Arcturus, and Borknagar, with even less focus on the metallic side of things than those acts. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to call Winds a metal band at all. The "experimental" quotient is also kept under check, and each song follows a similar pattern, starting off with some understated keys or strings, and then meandering towards a climax where vocals, guitars, and instrumentation mingle admirably, followed by the odd keyboard break or instrumental tangent before panning out.
And if there's a complaint with this album, it's primarily that it maintains a similar mood and pace throughout, largely devoid of the kind of curveballs, or excursions into sonic and conceptual darkness, that have made Arcturus and Ved Buens Ende releases so compelling. But if the idea of a mellower, more laid-back cousin to Borknagar and Vintersorg's journeys through folk, classical music, and prog rock appeals to your inner connoisseur, by all means, immerse yourself into these Winds.