Windswept - The Onlooker
Season Of Mist
Black Metal
8 songs (37:34)
Release year: 2019
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

A side project comprising three-quarters of the Drudkh line-up, Windswept stick close to that melodic battering but without the keyboards or folk influence of their main band. And honestly, the review could end there! If you've heard Drudkh, and they're a big enough name in black metal that it's a fair assumption, then Windswept's sound will be very familiar to you - furiously rushing melodic riffs atop a complex drum battery, snarled emotive vocals riding out across the top like a cossack charging over the steppes. And as loveable as that sound can be, we've not only had eleven Drudkh albums in the last 15 years or so, we've had a prior Windswept album in 2017 and are due a Drudkh compilation this April; if you're not at your limit for this style yet, you soon will be.

This is possibly a little unfair to what are a very capable set of musicians, who have produced some truly wonderful music. There's no doubting that tracks like the rabidly galloping A Gift to Feel Nostalgia or Gustav Meyrink's Prague are terrific in and of themselves, approaching an old-school Hate Forest level of aggression, or that the melodic trill of Disgusting Breed of Hagglers (hm?) doesn't have its own hypnotic pull. Yet all too often the album simply fades into the background, losing your attention easily as one repetitive track piles on another, and while at under forty minutes it's over fast, it's forgettable too.

It is easy to praise the musicianship, which is as solid and underrated as ever, and the production, which gives just enough fuzz to help the atmosphere while ensuring that each instrument is heard clearly, even the bass. The package as a whole is tremendous, the eerie cover art and music-box intro and outro helping establish the mood - and as a fan of this type of sound, it was easy for me to enjoy highlights like Stargazer's initial hypnotic storm, even as I recognised that in structure they were too similar and too focused on repetitive riffing and the same sort of snarled vocal each and every time. Not a complete failure, then, but hard to recommend unless you have a similar attraction to the style.

Killing Songs :
Stargazer, A Gift to Feel Nostalgia
Goat quoted 60 / 100
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