windhandWINDHAND – ‘Soma’
Once you’ve heard 30-seconds of the ‘Orchard’, the first track on Windhand’s sophomore release you know exactly what you’re in for – tar thick distorted guitars, drumming that sounds like it was done in the studio next-door and Dorothy Cottrell’s perfectly haunting vocals.  It all comes together almost perfectly to create Soma, a slow-churning typhoon of sludgy greatness.  After the spooky, slow and heavy Sabbath worship that is ‘Orchard’, with Cottrell sounding at times like a modern-day Dawn Crosby, next up is ‘Woodbine’  with its shadowy riffs and crisp, yet distant basslines, all conspire to make the strongest cut on the album.  ‘Feral Bones’ begins slowly and warms into another crunching guitar symphony accompanied by that eerie vocal, before ‘Evergreen’ takes us on a welcome diversion – an acoustic opening quickly leads into a super hippie ballad that floats along its own pathway. Normal service is resumed on the feedback-laden ‘Cassock’ which from the off, is as heavy and unforgiving as anything we’ve heard this year – riding the crest of a storm that explodes into an unholy, speaker-blowing riff.  Epic bookend ‘Boleskine’ is longer than the entirety of Slayer’s Reign in Blood (over thirty minutes…you knew that, right?).  If there’s a catch to Soma that’s it – for the most part the tracks follow a simple bwah, bwah, bwah and the punishing Iommi-esqe riffs at-times, run too long to sustain the momentum.  But end to end Soma is for more than just the doom-metal hoards out there – it’s a record of epic proportions for all fans of guitar driven Metal, sounding much like the angry bastard child of Sabbath and Fear of God; there’s a lot to like – just don’t play it with the lights off!  (8)



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