I remember reviewing the last effort 'The Second Coming' from Lion Music's Winterlong and talking about how far the band has come. The same holds true for the bands latest release, the self titled 'Winterlong' album. This release finds the band very comfortable playing their own style of power metal. I say their own because there is a bit of that familiar fusion injected in the music that is common with the Lion Music roster. You don't get that element with alot of other power metal acts. The band sound great with this release. Looking at the music selection on the album, there is a little diversity, but not alot. There are alot of heavy tracks which one would expect from a metal band. The band opens with one of my favorite tracks from the album titled 'The Priest'. Straight forward metal track. The album continues with more of the heavy stuff with tracks like 'Ten Digits of the Future', 'Judgement Day', 'Ragnarök' that is proceeded with the absolutely killer sounding 'A Vision of the Wolf', and 'Each Day We Die'. Some of the more different tracks from the rest included the burning 'Bloodshred' that at times had me thinking 'Flight of the Bumblebee' due to it's very frantic guitar playing in places, and the lighter track of the album which is also one of my favorites due to it's atmosphere 'Demise'. This particular track has the most depth of any on the album and really is kind of a stand alone song. Very enjoyable however. The album closes with the heavy 'Oblivion' that sounds like you may imagine it, and the short outro 'The End of the Longest Winter'.
This album is pretty decent. It doesn't tread alot of new ground since the bands second effort 'The Second Coming', it just retains the same qualities. Consistency comes to mind. If you like the first few tracks, you will more than likely like the rest of the album. While there isn't alot of mellow stuff here, what is here is very solid. The band is heading in the right direction I think. I will continue to pay attention to what they are doing as I am sure that many others will do the same.
Questions or Comments? Email Dave by clicking here.
Reviewed by Dave Palmer
I have to be honest on this band. I remember starting out my like or dislike with the bands 'Wishmaster' album. Well, I disliked it and had pretty much wrote this band off. It has been some time now, and with the help of a loyal reader of the site (thanks Chris!), I checked out the bands latest effort 'Once'. I have to admit, I am still picking my jaw up off the floor. This album is so incredibly large in production value, it's hard to describe. This is the kind of album that cements itself in the metal hall of fame (well, if there was one) for all time as a classic. Some may disagree, but if you know me, you'll know I talk about albums I like, and when I say something kicks serious ass, I damn well mean it. This album does. The album opens with 'Dark Chest of Wonders' and never really ever looks back. If you are curious, go to the official RoadrunnerRecords website and check out the video for the secons track 'Wish I Had an Angel'. You'll get the point in a hurry. For those not in the know, Marco Hieatal, the Bass player and vocalist of the mighty Tarot is now a bonafide member of this band and brings alot to the band. I believe this to be why the bands sound is the way that it is versus 'Wishmaster' which I just didn't care for. Moving on with the album at hand, I really didn't find a track that I didn't like....alot. Probably my favorite was 'Creek Mary's Blood'. This song is so amazing with the orchestration and melodies. There is also a heavy guitar sound in the mid section that blows you away. Overall though, the song goes for depth. 'Nemo' is very solid as well and I think the band have made a video for that one as well. I could go on and on about each song and really write a novel here, but I won't. I will just say this. If I had heard this album earlier, it would have impacted pretty high in my top 10 of last year, so shame on me. If you do pick the album up, the video mentioned for the track 'Wish I Had an Angel' is included on the disc. There are also a couple of bonus tracks on this version of the release.
As I mentioned in the body of the review, this album is a serious stunner. As far as female fronted bands go, these guys are now my favorite. Forget others like Evanescance. This band delivers in all areas and hits on all cylinders. This album has a very large production quality to it. Orchestration, keyboards, choir style vocals, and hard driving guitar work. I guess it goes without saying that this title is very highly recommended!