This Windhand article was written by Nairomi Alice Eriksson, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
Windhand’s third album ‘Grief’s Infernal Flower’ shows a resistance to be labelled as purely doom, and with some progressed acoustic components they manage not so much to escape it, but perhaps change the definition of it.
This time around veteran producer Jack Endino, who has been around to work on albums for Nirvana and Soundgarden, assisted them; and his stripped down style fits Windhand like a glove.
The first 17 minutes are dominant and all consuming; the album bursts open with ‘Two Urns’ and ‘Forrest Clouds’, and the impressive full-of-fuzz tracks sets the tone for what’s to come. The riff repetitions evoke a hypnotic-like state, and it’s remarkably easy to drift away when listening to this album. Windhand have generated over an hour of hooks and visionary melodies, and if there was such a thing as catchy doom metal; this would be it.
Of the two acoustic tracks on the album, ‘Sparrow’ is the superior. It melts together graciously with the raw songs that comes before and after it, and gives Dorthia Cottrell a chance to shine brighter as a vocalist and lyricist. Her recent solo album was folky, but also dark and ghostly, and it’s apparent that she is showing much more of her true self on this album.
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While the theme for the first album was pouring rain and thunder, ‘Grief’s Infernal Flower’ feels like the morning after the storm. It would be wrong to say that a calm has settled, but with the reoccurring nature elements comes a composed and mystical feeling, and you find yourself not only listening, but conjuring visions to the multi-dimensional songs you’re listening to.
The album’s penultimate, and maybe most interesting track, ‘Kingfisher’ has an intro made up of sounds from a rippling creek, crickets chirping and a lamb bleating, that are both sedative and unnerving. As Cottrell’s harmonies haunt you, these feelings continue throughout. In a span of 14 minutes, the track dies and resurrects twice before it transforms into a long, dreamy wah-wah ending – a fitting finale, strong enough to finish off the entire album.
Unfortunately, it’s actually brought to an end with an acoustic lullaby that builds up but never breaks out. Only three and a half minutes long, you’re waiting for it to explode in a fuzzy frenzy from the start, but instead Cottrell’s voice passes away and abandons you with a slightly empty feeling.
Regardless of the ending, Windhand have left us with perhaps the most fascinating album in the genre this year – an album that will captivate you and challenge the way you think about doom metal.
‘Grief’s Infernal Flower’ is out now via Relapse Records