Winds - Reflections of the I
The End Records
Symphonic atmospheric classical/metal fusion
16 songs (60'26")
Release year: 2002
Winds, The End Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Friends, please allow me to share with you the beauty that is Winds. At first, I planned to do more of the track-by-track review, but then I scrapped the idea, as I figured the word “awesome” would be mentioned too many times.

Reflections of the I is a stunning creative human impulse captured and translated into music. I am a strong believer that all of us have moments like this. Those who can grasp it and present it for other people to hear are called talented individuals. This term certainly pertains to Andy Winter, Carl August Tidemann, Jan Axel von Blomberg (aka Hellhammer) and Lars Eric Si. Together, they have created a masterpiece.

Reflections of the I is the best possible fusion of heavy and classical chamber music. While all compositions on the album have piano and strings sections (classical), they also have guitar and percussion to contribute on the heavy side. Maestro Tidemann has outdone himself on the guitar. Keeping track was difficult, but with my limited observations, he has displayed multiple arrangements, sweeping arpeggios, aggressive shredding and precise syncopated riffs at the very least. His solos are simply breathtaking. The way guitar and string section go point-counterpoint on some of the compositions deserves to be heard repeatedly. For strings Winds didn’t skimp and hired Oslo Symphonic Orchestra musicians. The class is obviously showing. The use of the velvety cello sound in place of bass is what caught my ear a number of times. Viola and violin are outstanding as well. On a few occasions, the strings play by themselves, and I am instantly reminded when my mom wanted me to appreciate music of Bach and Lulli. Most of the time, though, the string section harmoniously supports the rest of the music. Andy Winter, keyboardist and main songwriter, does not turn it into his own personal showcase. He tastefully splashes some classic ivory tinkling in places, but mostly lets himself be an integral part of the sound. Hellhammer is precise in the places where fast beat is on, but also uses plenty of high-hat and cymbal. Vocals are probably the weakest point of this strong effort. Lars Eric Si is no Garm or Vintersorg with his baritone, but mostly his spoken parts is what I don’t get. It sounds too theatrical, almost like Bal-Sagoth. I just don’t think that mood fits with the overall sound. The melodies on Reflections of the I can be both mournful and uplifting. Simple, but very profound poetry needs to be read and delved into. To complete the package, the cover art is nothing short of amazing as well.

I know it wasn’t to show the band’s progress, but The End Records (one excellent label, I will never get tired saying this!) included the debut EP on the disc as well. Still, the amount of improvement is easily noticeable, especially with the vocals and piano production.

Death and black metal fans will probably be drawn to this record based simply on the names of the bandmembers. Some, shortminded, will say it isn’t metal. I hope, though, that they will be outnumbered by those who will thoroughly enjoy this multifaceted and eclectic album. I also hope that those not of extreme metal ilk will check out the CD as well. This is for all true lovers of music.

I am basing my quote on both the album itself and the bonus songs of the enclosed EP, otherwise it would have been higher.

Killing Songs :
Embrace the whole album, but the block of tracks Transition, Passion's Quest, Reason's Desire, Premonition, Remnants of Beauty will capture your imagination
Alex quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Winds that we have reviewed:
Winds - Prominence and Demise reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
Winds - The Imaginary Direction of Time reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
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