Kalamazoo Michigan was the original home to Gibson Guitars. This is where it all started for many a metalhead. As like the Gibson company way back then, Winterus hailing from the same place shows the promise of what could be but it is going to take some work to get there. While they have the songwriting and musical ability, it is the production quality of this disc that really makes it suffer. It really has a low budget feel and sound which is quite a shame for a group of this obvious talent. The guitars sound very tinny, the rhythm section buried in the mix at times and overbearing at others, the vocals overshadowed by every instrument. The great thing about this though is that through all that the band still shows that they are a powerhouse and are going to be a force in the metal world someday. Money they say can't buy happiness but it could have really helped make this a debut that would set the world on fire.
The band really captures the essence of what a black metal band should sound like. Not afraid to let their instruments lead, they follow wherever the music might take them. Often it is into a dark realm which is as cold and desolate as a Michigan winter. Beginning with the haunting instrumental "Lone Wolves", Winterus lays a foundation that allows the melodic to play as big of a part as the metal in their sound. Don't get me wrong, this guys will melt your face off but they do it with an underlying current that provides a melodic cushion while you are being thoroughly brutalized up front. They do show that the light and dark can co-exist.
In songs like "Reborn" and "Harmonious" which are both highlights from the disc, the band is at their melodic, brutal best. When you can hear Christopher Neu's vocals, they are frighteningly chilling. He has a delivery that oozes the coldness that these black metal newcomers are striving for. Musically the duel guitars produce a wall of sound that although paper thin due to the production quality, still stands. It is easy to hear the potential and forgive for what is beyond their control. At least you will be able to say that you were listening to them way back when they first came out.
Now, I know they did it to save money but the last 3 songs which were recorded live are really a detriment to the disc. Sounding as if they were done in someone's bathroom, the quality of these recordings are akin to a demo. In the future when these guys are huge rock stars everyone will look back and laugh at how it all started but for now, you will be wise to just skip these songs and wait for them to be properly recorded.
This band reminds me of the hitter who can send a baseball 500 feet but still has trouble with the curve ball. Working with them and practice is the cure for what ails. Make no bones about it this band has the tools and the raw talent. They just need the proper coach. Still it is a lot of fun to hear the budding stars in the rough and believe me, this one is a little bit on the rough side.
1. Lone Wolves
3. No Rest
6. Eternal Ghost
7. Christ Reign
8. Dusk Unveils
9. Through The Mist