Review: “Hating Life” by Winds Of Tragedy

Produced, mixed and mastered by Filippos Koliopanos (Ocean Of Grief, Rise To The Sky), “Hating Life” marks the third record of the ever prolific multi instrumentalist and vocalist Sergio González Catalán (guitars, bass, keyboards) under the moniker Winds Of Tragedy. While is other solo project Rise To The Sky finds him painting in atmospheric Doom infused Death Metal, this one is said to be a water colour in atmospheric depressive Black Metal and a distinctly separate entity, for never the two shall meet. Adorned by the haunting photography of Tatiana Lebedeva, “Hating Life” was recorded in Sergio’s Castle in Santiago Chile and finds Catalán joined by long time collaborator Emidio Alexandre (Rådarna, Asasara, ex-Dark Oath) who provides the drumming, recorded in Almada Studios in Lisbon Portugal.

2022 was a busy year for Catalán, releasing an album in “As Life Drifts Away” and an EP in “Land Of Tragedy” under the Winds Of Tragedy moniker as well as a pair of full length albums under the name Rise To The Sky, however that has no bearing enduring quality of the masters work as he continues a rich vein of form with “Hating Life“. Running on a sombre and sobering lyrical narrative that would see him walk the lonely path to self immolation on rose petals turned to ash, the album has a dark and poetic beauty rooted in Scandinavian origins that breathes new life into the genre. “Living a Lie” combines elegance and grace with melancholic meandering moments that mirror the raw beauty of barren and windswept lands while at the same time holding at its heart the raging fires of furious blast beats and unclean vocals that would scare away wild beasts. Disposing of some of the intricacies “I Choose to Die” is a ferocious onslaught of pure catharsis, far more direct and all out aggressive in its approach as the gauntlet is laid down for all to see with blood gargling vocals that reach new bowel clenching lows. Elements of Death Metal and buried orchestration creep into the title track, held underneath the caustic abrasions of the guitar work that feels like a plague wind sweeping a post apocalyptic world during an era of nuclear fallout. The drum sound is immense, Alexandre nailing his parts with the studio able to provide the kind of crisp clean sound quality that means the emotive quality of every single note is felt like a hammer blow to the skull. There is a clear understanding between the duo which makes this so much more than the work of a solo musician and a session drummer, their previous collaborations bearing fruit here.

Mid album cut “No Reason to Go On” is perhaps the boldest moment, balancing on a knife edge the atmospherics with an aura of tragedy soaking through bloody bandages, the tormented soul on display for all to witness. There is a sense of melancholic playfulness that continues into “Wake Me Up From This Act“, abandoning the all out heaviness of the earlier material for a more balanced approach that incorporates some classical lead guitar and synth moments. It’s not so much a dial down as the layering of additional sound that finds Catalán taking a risk, the ultimate reward being the lack of loss of intensity in the crushing weight of sound when these play out, thus keeping the flow and dynamic of the album intact. A tsunami of percussive battery brings home “Death Love” with a moment of reprieve mid track for an elegant piano moment, it’s fearsome might only to be overshadowed by the finale which steals the show in “Remember We Died“. There is a Gothic reverie to this one somewhere underneath the weight of its sonic oblivion as if the spirit of Type O Negative mastermind Pete Steele is emanating from within Catalán’s soul and the result when fused to the skeleton of the earlier work perhaps lights the way with burning bridges to what the future of Wings Of Tragedy may hold [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Living a Lie
2. I Choose to Die
3. Hating Life
4. No Reason to Go On
5. Wake Me Up From This Act
6. Death Love
7. Remember We Died

Hating Life” by Winds Of Tragedy is out via Meuse Music Records / Tragedy Productions and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp.

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