Release DetailsLABEL The End
RELEASED ON 9/4/2007
Prominence And Demise
posted on 10/2007 By:
Those familiar with Winds’ earlier works – Of Entity and Mind EP, Reflections of the I, and The Imaginary Direction of Time – will quickly note that Prominence and Demise is the supergroup’s most diverse, dynamic album to date. The payoff is gratifying in the sense that this is the finest installment in their catalog, but also in the fact that it marks the end of over a three-year wait for its predecessor’s follow-up.
If anything, Winds have changed for the better. Though partly due to rough, distortion-laden riffs, proggy leads, and oodles of double bass, the main differences are the guest appearances, which include the likes of Agnete M. Kirkevaag (Madder Mortem), Øystein Moe (ex-Tritonus), Lars Nedland (Age of Silence, Borknagar, Solefald), Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale), and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, consisting of two violinists, a violist, and a cellist. Considering the core musicians – Hellhammer (Age of Silence, Mayhem, a million others), Lars E. Si (Age of Silence, Before the Dawn, Sensa Anima, Tulus), Carl August Tidemann (Tritonus), and Andy Winter (Age of Silence, Sculptured) – Prominence and Demise is truly the epitome of a star-studded affair that only a project like Ayreon eclipses as far as collaborative efforts are concerned. The songs themselves are completely distinguishable from one another, however, and while still rooted in neoclassical music, the absence of spoken word vocals should finally put the pretension accusations to rest.
Of course, though it need not be said, PaD has its share of pristine, intricate numbers whose passages are busy yet controlled. Beginning with a piano-led intro, “Universal Creation Array” soon morphs into a driven, double-bass-riddled progscape, then, shortly after, a barrage of clean vocals rains down from male and female contributors alike. It’s all a smidge overwhelming for those accustomed to a serene, calmer Winds. And at 8:17, the opener is lengthy, but seeing as how there are several, worthwhile instrumental sections, the length is actually a positive attribute. “Distorted Dimensions” is the point at which the piano-cum-strings becomes a temporary focus, though the eager may skip right to “The Grand Design,” Nedland-laced “When the Dream of Paradise Died,” and “The Darkest Path” to hear Swanö’s singing, bellowing, and, *gasp*, growling – the latter a first for the Winds camp. Others such as the sandwiched “Fall and Rise,” traditional yet dense “Convictions and Contradictions,” intermittently laidback “Where the Cold Winds Blow,” and lead-strewn closer “The Last Line” certainly pull their own weight.
So, through ambition and pure skill, Winds have managed to create the record that they may be remembered for. Still, Prominence and Demise caters to a somewhat narrow audience, and the cameos inevitably steal attention from the songs at hand, which may lessen their respective impacts until familiarity sets in. The drawbacks are few, though, so be prepared to adjust your listening schedule accordingly.
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