(Prominence and Demise)
Crank this to 8.5 of 11
Neo-classical progressive metal
Sounds Like:
Opeth, Devin Townsend Project, Dream Theatre
Looking for a metal album with a fury of progressive guitars, a steadfast bassline, classical piano and eloquent violins? Look no further than Progressive metal’s very own Winds. Formed in 1998, the band from Norway released their fourth album Prominence and Demise in 2007, which took nearly three years to produce. The album deals heavily with astrophysical and existentialist philosophy subjects which seem to suite their musical style very well. There are plenty of guest musicians lending their talents to this album, which adds plenty of depth and colorful arrangements to the music. Often bands of this nature come off too dramatic and are lyrically comical at times. Prominence and Demise seems to take a different path than these artists, the way they fuse classical instruments along with traditional progressive metal makes for a very interesting and somewhat unique listen.

Track Listing:
1. Universal Creation Array – 8:17
2. Distorted Dimensions – 4:34
3. The Grand Design – 6:20
4. When The Dream Of Paradise Died – 5:10
5. Fall And Rise – 7:17
6. The Darkest Path
7. Convictions And Contradictions
8. Where The Cold Winds Blow
9. The Last Line

Band Members:
Lars Eric Si aka Eikind - Vocals, Bass
Carl August Tidemann - Guitars
Jan Axel von Blomberg aka Hellhammer - Drums
Andy Winter – Piano

A short piano intro begins our experience on the opening track “Universal Creation Array”. The song quickly shifts gears towards a swift progressive metal style. The vocals of Lars Si took us a bit by surprise at first, we were expecting more powerful vocals to front the music. Don’t give up on this one, it seems the more rotations we gave this, the more enjoyable the vocals became and the addition of guest female vocalist Agnete Kirkevaag definitely helps. The album seems to hits its stride on the second track “Distorted Dimensions,” it’s a fluent metal song with a perfectly timed piano and background vocals. It doesn’t stop here, the next two songs “The Grand Design” and “When The Dream Of Paradise Died” are more highly entertaining Neo-classical/progressive metal tunes.

One of the standout songs could be “Rise and Fall” and the way it builds in strength over time. The background megaphone styled vocals is a great and unique touch, a technique we would love to hear more of in the progressive metal world. The marching power style of “The Darkest Path” is in typical metal form, yet the guitar arrangements somehow find a way to suck you in. Track seven, “Convictions And Contradictions” could be the weakest song of the bunch, it’s not terrible, but it just doesn’t have the diversity of the other songs, at least it’s the shortest track coming in under 4 minutes. The album comes back to life with “Where The Cold Winds Blow”. This is a great song, take the melody of latter day Katatonia and fuse that with some dreamy Opeth and it makes for a killer song. Closing the album is “The Last Line,” and with its violin and cello intro this one goes through many peaks and valleys of metal, it pretty much encompasses everything Winds is about, a very strong track to end the album.

Prominence and Demise is a quite a diverse and entertaining album, they actually pull this off without becoming overly dramatic and tiresome. Fans of progressive metal should give them a shot, it may open doors to new musical entities. Rumors are they will be releasing a new album sometime in 2015, we’ll be keeping an eye out for this as we’re curious to see where the Winds can take us. - 8/25/2015

Guest Musicians:
Lars Nedland  - Guest appearance, vocals
Dan Swanö  - Guest appearance, vocals
Oystein Moe - Guest appearance, bass
Agnete M. Kirkevaag  - Guest appearance, vocals
Andre Orvik - Violin
Vegard Johnsen - Violin
Dorthe Dreier - Viola
Hans Josef Groh - Cello

Standout Tracks: Fall And Rise, Distorted Dimensions, The Darkest Path
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