Windhand - Grief's Internal Flower
Doom metal
9 songs (01:11:09)
Release year: 2015
Reviewed by Charles
Windhand are a doom band from Virginia. They have a distinctive identity, despite bearing strong resemblance in many respects to other groups ranging from Electric Wizard to Witch Mountain. Like the latter, they achieve good things by playing on the tension between very melodic female vocals and bluesy, feedback-laden doom riffs. However, unlike Witch Mountain, Dorothia Cottrell’s style is more grungy and mournful; reminded me a bit of SubRosa, particularly on the more melancholy tracks here (there are a couple of very strong ballads- see below). Like Electric Wizard and similar bands, the riffs tend to be very minimalist, and the track lengths very long. So it’s the juxtaposition between the melodic strength of the vocals, which sometimes find some genuinely ear-catching hooks, and the dour rhythm section that stops the very long tracks, which are generally all at the same pace, from demanding too much of the listener.

The pace of the tracks is, in fact, just right. Any slower and they would drag, any faster and the impact of the gravelly riffs would be lost. Tracks like Two Urns or Forest Clouds sort of bleed into each other, which is not such a problem since the point here is not to churn out a series of pop singles. Leadership of the group alternates between the vocals- really the defining part of the sound- and the stonerish guitar soloing. Wisely, though, after this it changes tack (temporarily). Crypt Key is a highpoint of the album: a strangely waltzing riff and a dreamlike vocal melody that has less in common with most doom bands that it does something like Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun.

The second and third-to-last tracks (the last is mainly just an outro) are both over 14 minutes long; in other words, combined, they alone are longer than a good Slayer album. Once again, it is the vocal lines that make it interesting, especially towards the climax of Hesperus (the last four minutes); there are these pained vocal harmonies which, to continue the grunge theme, could have fit onto Alice In Chains’s Dirt. So, basically, the album is largely one paced with only occasional dynamic variation, but nonetheless manages to craft a distincitive identity that makes it well worth hearing.

Killing Songs :
Crypt Key, Hesperus
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Windhand that we have reviewed:
Windhand - Soma reviewed by Neill and quoted 95 / 100
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