SputnikMusic.com – WinterMoon Symphony (2008) review

Review Summary: A very complex and unique symphonic black metal album. Comparable to a slower, and more guitar focused version of Equilibrium’s Sagas.

This band doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page! Well, story goes: there’s a Russian symphonic black/pagan band who’s looking for a label. So there you go! The band’s history. Now let’s focus on the album in review.

The album is very atmospheric and emotive. The majestic tone of the album are powerfully sentimental, and constantly evoking themes of a foreign and cold environment. What this band does, and does extremely well is their ability to use instruments especially solos to replace vocals and achieve melodic sympathy (feeling between the music and listener)

The band is able to evoke such poignant sentiments because every instrument play in perfection. Being a symphonic black metal band, the members employ a wide range of sound (electric keyboard) – from synth induced solos and flutes (sigh, the real thing sounds much better…), to some orchestral sounds that I cannot pinpoint. The layered instrumental melodies create complex, yet distinct melodies which can be heard and enjoyed in isolation. Don’t understand the (one of innumerable) solo that the lead guitar is playing? Focus on the rhythm guitar riffs (or even better, solo) or keyboard playing some random instrument. It’s this sort of musical layering that ensures there will always be something to enjoy at any given time even if one (or more) instrument fails to ‘connect’ with the listener.

The band also employs a wide range of musical variety – curled sound of string bending (finger vibrato), intense tremolo sweeping, furious solos and orchestral harmonies are just to name a few. The orchestral harmonies are simply epic, if not grandiose in sound and scale.

One warning beforehand though – this album may not be for everyone. The unique song composition (solo heavy, scarce vocals) and complex sound layering could be initially hard to digest. This album demands time and many repeated listens to fully understand. This is no Equilibrium’s Sagas, which is comparatively very easy to understand and enjoy due to protruding catchy melody hooks.

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