Winter – Into Darkness Re-Released …   Leave a comment

At the time of its original release, it was advertised by Nuclear Blast as a ‘Five megaton blast of pulverizing doom’ and it was and it still is. People often talk about who were the first to blend death metal and doom metal into one seamless genre – well look no further than Winter. Keep in mind that when this was originally unleashed on the un-expecting world in 1990, albums like Cathedral’s Forest of Equilibrium was still over a year away and Electric Wizard hadn’t even been thought of. Also it is important to mention that while My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema are considered as somehow being innovators of the death-doom scene, Winter make bands like these seem quite tame by comparison. At the time when Winter was still active, nearly every band in the scene was trying to play as fast as possible. Winter however was the complete opposite playing as slow and heavy as possible.

They tuned lower than any band for that time-period and even now, 21 years later, it is still a hard album to beat for down-tuned glory. They also had different diverse influences that most other bands – Black Sabbath, Celtic Frost, Amebix, Rudimentiry Peni, King Crimson, Hawkwind, Carnivore and Discharge were just some of them. After the original release of the album, the band split and faded into obscurity for a number of years, however the album was an instant cult-classic that has since taken on a life of its own. This album has been re-released before but this is by far the most polished re-release of Winter’s ‘Into Darkness’ so far. If you have never heard the album, hurry up and hear it now and you life will never be the same again.

It goes without saying that since the band split in the 90’s, the band has been ripped off to death by literally 100’s of bands and basically left for dead. They never really got the credit they deserved and while in many respects they modelled themselves on Celtic Frost, they severely beat Frost at their own game. ‘Into Darkness’ is crawling repetitive death metal to the point of crushing doom and that was something extremely rare for 1990. This album was unique for its claustrophobic atmosphere and its disturbing ‘couldn’t give a shit’ attitude. That total indifference they had towards the trends of the metal scene back then made a refreshing change to all the image conscious bullshit that still goes on today.

The album was start to finish full of classic material, the most well-known song though was ‘Servants of the Warsmen’ which was the fastest track on the album yet Winter had this knack of sounding slow even when they did something mid-tempo. ‘Goden’ is probably my favourite track from the album, it is a 8 minute apocalyptic, crawling piece of doom that has riffs that seem to moan like a wounded rhino. Listen to a song like ‘Destiny’ and you will hear where bands like Coffins got their inspiration while ‘Eternal Frost’ sounds like a left-over Hellhammer track, only played tight. The other major highlight on this album for me has always been the title track, ‘Into Darkness’ which is over 9 minutes of malevolent doom-metal that is simply devastating.

I suspect that most ‘Doommantia’ readers will already have this album so I won’t say anymore about the songs themselves, the album is about as close to perfection as you can get in the death-doom metal genre as there is no droning violins or lilting female vocals delivering sappy romanticism. The only negative I can come up with is the production sounds a little sparse and dated these days but that is to be expected after all this time. The album is being re-released by Southern Lord and they have some great package deals as an added incentive to buy this masterpiece including your choice of 180 gram white vinyl or black vinyl in a heavy-duty gate-fold jacket and huge 18 page “zine”-style booklet with flyers and posters plus a shirt, all for $26. You can also pick this up on CD, also with a shirt for $22, either way you can’t go wrong but my choice would be to grab the vinyl package, it is incredible value.

‘Into Darkness’ should be of interest to any doom fan, experienced or not, what more can I say – essential…..9.5/10
Southern Lord Records

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Posted April 5, 2011 by doommantia in Winter

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