WINTERHORDE - Underwatermoon

Winterhorde - Underwatermoon

12 songs
67:31 minutes
***** ****


Most metal bands from Israel that manage to get known outside their country add a healthy dose of ethnic elements to their music, resulting in a subgenre often labelled Oriental metal. Artists like Salem and Orphaned Land have probably garnered the biggest success with this approach. Therefore I would never have guessed that Winterhorde come from Israel, as their music is quite devoid of Middle Eastern influences, but that doesn’t mean that the band which started as Autumn Palace in 1999 isn’t worth being checked out.

Underwatermoon is only their second album so far, coming four years after their debut Nebula which was released on a Greek record label. Centred around a story devised by their bass player Celestial, the twelve songs offer over an hour of finest extreme metal which is anything but easy to describe. The sextet started as a black metal band, and these early roots still shine through occasionally, but there is no denying that there has been an awful lot of progress over the years. The framework is still some kind of melodic black metal, although without the overdone pathos we get so often from Scandinavian bands. The songs are generally between five and ten minutes long, giving the band ample opportunity to spice up their black / thrash hybrid with contrasting genres. It is crystal clear that Seventies progressive rock has left its traces, so that very often fast abrasive metal makes room for slower parts full of drama and pathos. The vocals are extremely varied, and perfect at every mood they capture, from the most evil screams out of the darkest pits of the human mind to utterly festive choirs.

As we are dealing with a concept album, it should be noted that the songs are not just a mindless sequence of independent compositions, instead there is a continuous flow running through the album, making it futile to pick out any individual songs. Underwatermoon is better consumed in one sitting, to let it unfold its maximum impact. The impeccable production makes sure that no detail is lost in the sometimes very hectic action going on at times. Demanding metal fans will have a field day with this truly special progressive extreme metal gem from Israel.

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