Review: “Effigy” by Winterblind

Winterblind is an Antwerp Belgium based experimental progressive metal band. Formed sometime around 2006 by four edge-riddled teenagers wanting to play black metal, for some reason the band never broke up and now consists of five hipsters in their late twenties trying to play music that they imagine makes them look smart. Following their debut self titled EP in 2010 with a sophomore release “Ya Mashina” in 2015 the band have gone through a trio of line-up changes in that time and now consist of vocalist Fabian Villarroel Benitez, Guitarist pairing Nathaniel Mon Père and Thierry Wijckmans with a rhythm section of bassist Jan Kennes and drummer Felix De Rycker. Recorded and mixed by Nathaniel Mon Pere and Mastered by Uwe Teichert, “Effigy” marks their third release.

Introduction piece “Torus” is in keeping with the EP cover art with a space age depiction and inaudible words coming through a distorted white noise before the first cut “Stride” starts things off with a groovy downtuned riff that breaks into a Jazzy section of eerie piano, quirky clean chord progressions and a whispered spoken word. Returning to the main riff for a short burst before changing tempo into a piece of lead chord progression, Winterblind are Progressive in The Dillinger Escape Plan quirky sense rather than anything else. Using their song writing ability to create something edgy and interesting, they capture the attention and by the end of the first cut proper, you may find yourself sold and preparing to dive into the back catalog. “Screen Queen” sees some more drawn out vocals from Fabian Villarroel Benitez whose unclean tones are grate like the toughest of leather down a cheese grater. Again breaking from the Metal side to some Jazzy melodic work and lyrical spoken word poetry before breaking back into the riffs, the quality of both sets of material is an indicator that the band have the quality in their musicanship to be able to create two separate bands if they chose, each part being of equally high quality. This track even closes with a classic Black Metal riff flurry and choral vocals.

A re-recording of the nearly 2 year old single “Black-Scholes” offers up some off kilter DJent fueled riffs that match the opening track and interweaves the pair nicely. The there is an eerie horror film vibe that runs throughout the atmospheric in the sense of playing tricks with the mind and what you’re left with is a clever and engaging piece of music. “My Public Anatomy” features a guest appearance from Ruben Podevyn of Onrust and builds upon swirling repeating riff with a spoken word poetry piece that makes no sense the first few times of listening but when you look at the lyrics, they’re an intriguing blend. Making the guitars sound like water droplets falling for a sonic break before bringing back the main riff with some unclean venting is a wonderful touch and the some how the band have managed to create a science fiction film soundtrack song by the end. Changing the vocals for a Red Hot Chili Peppers inspired rap over some funky bass reminiscent of Primus, “Never Change” is hilariously good fun. It’s not the kind of thing you might expect from the opening tracks but is absolute genius in the way it’s constructed and by the time the guttural roars of the closing is joined by some staccato riffs, we’d defy you not to have a smile on your face! [8/10]

  1. Torus
  2. Stride
  3. Screen Queen
  4. Black-Scholes
  5. My Public Anatomy (Ft. Ruben Podevyn of Onrust)
  6. Never Change

“Effigy” by Winterblind is out now and available over at bandcamp

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