Release DetailsLABEL Dark Valley Records
RELEASED ON 5/18/2004
Where The Souls Wander
posted on 5/2005 By:
Usually when an album this bad comes along, the reviewer finds himself asking the following questions: Is what I'm hearing the product of musicians who lack the requisite talents to execute their artistic vision, or are these talented musicians who simply don't have any good ideas? Unfortunately, answering either of those questions won't really suffice, as 13 Winter's Where the Lost Souls Wander presents both a dearth of artistic and musical merit.
The lead vocalist, the performance of Die Winters (clearly destined by birthright to front a hackneyed symphonic black metal band) is unsettling for all the wrong reasons. Instead of placing the listener in a state of unease with genuinely anguished screams, she merely induces a feeling of awkwardness and subtle embarrassment. There's also a discouraging reliance on spoken word passages that highlight Winters' immaturity as a lyricist. I'm sure the following lines were first put to paper on the back of a notebook in the same vicinity as a poorly drawn Emperor logo.
Every morning when I wake up I feel nothing inside.
Every night when I sleep I have hurt inside.
Yet nothing I do can make it go away.
Sorrow haunts me deep within my soul.
Things are are looking only slightly brighter (or blacker, for that matter) in the actual music department. Matthue Schildroth's playing is rudimentary and displays only a vague comprehension of the style he's attempting to tackle. "The Dead" features a lurching lockstep riff seasoned with some poorly executed pinch harmonics. Aren't people in bands supposed to be able to pull those off convincingly? While a solid foundation in theory and technique has always kind of played second fiddle to atmosphere and compositional eloquence in the realm of black metal, I'm sorry to say that Matthue's performance doesn't even offer that. He's just kind of a sloppy musician, playing stupid songs.
There are some interesting things to be found here. Keyboard/Violinist Roy Addams seems to be the one worthwhile contributor in the band. While most black metal fans will be douching themselves in fevered consternation at the mere thought of an ivory twinkler actually adding something to a composition, his efforts are really the only that elevates parts of this album to the level of "bearable."
13 Winters offers nothing worthy of praise. The few songs that are worth anything are completely divergent of the band's intended sound, and even so require considerable polishing. The basement quality recording has nothing to do with the kind of pompous symphonic black metal this band purveys, and comes off as distracting rather than engrossing. And even within the style of under-produced black metal, which does have its place, these songs just aren't powerful enough to stand up. And, as if poorly written, poorly played, and poorly produced symphonic black metal wasn't enough to warrant an awful critical response, the album begins with an extended quote from The Sixth Sense.
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