Winterhorde - Underwatermoon

It's been almost four years, but Winterhorde recently released a new album of melodic black metal glory that trumps their debut back in 2006. 'Underwatermoon' is a concept album that delves into ships, fantasy, and of course the begrudgery of betrayal and death... all the good things about black metal these days. At least Winterhorde does it with class and grandiose, matching engaging music with an epic story. The album beings with "The Shell" which offers a healthy dose of both electric and acoustic melodies along with clean, melancholic vocals. For those who may be new to Winterhorde, they may wonder "What is this? This isn't black metal... it sounds awesome... but where's the shrieking?"

Enter "Wreckages Ghost." This track relies more on melodic guitar solos that sound almost folk harmonic and finally features the snarling, evil vocals that fans have been waiting to hear. Musically it sounds like Carach Agren, who also are into creating oceanic concept albums, but each has their own distinct style. Carach is more symphonic while Winterhode is more melodic, but take those elements away and you've got two pretty similar bands. Winterhorde applies a lot of acoustic interludes to their music along with a fair bit of keyboard play. The low cleans are still present, but not as much as the harsh ones. There's even a bit of evil carnival keyboard on this track to really set the mood. "Underwatermoon" continues the epic in a similar fashion, but for its surprise, contibutes ghostly female vocals during the intersection.

"Hunting The Humans" shows off some of Winterhorde's more flamboyant guitar solos and a mix of the clean and harsh vocals in a chorus fashion to add for variation. "Execution" is more straightforward melodic black metal while "And Flames Wept Towards Heaven" has a lot of keyboard ambiance along with the vocals which are more of a cacophonic choir of sorrow rather than the usual melodic black metal that fans have been hearing. Again, varied moments like this are great for epic albums. "Curse Of The Gypsy" has a fantastic moody interlude before heading back to the raw, buzzing electronic guitars. "Tenth Wave" is more melodic black metal enjoyment... not too keyboard saturated while also not being too soft either. "Smoke Figures" offers a brief instrumental that starts out slow and string picked before laying into heavier riffs. It feels oddly placed on the album, no matter how good it sounds, and probably could have been better as an introduction or closer. "The Martyr And Deliverance" should have been the closer with its fantastically placed guitars and almost jazzy solos that are more melodically sound than anything heard so far on this track. Then its up to the slightly disappointing "Farewell" which has several seconds of silence before leading into a soft Spanish acoustic outro. This few seconds sadly ruins the momentum of the music... like a movie suddenly being cut off at a really great part to be continued for a cheap attempt at part two or three.

Despite a few nuances, Winterhorde have stepped up their game and thankfully not done the same thing the did the last album. With a new concept and fresh sounds in their music, 'Underwatermoon' is an engaging album that fans of melodic metal, symphonic metal, black metal, and melodic death metal will certainly enjoy.

  1. The Shell
  2. Wreckages Ghost
  3. Underwatermoon
  4. Hunting The Human
  5. Execution
  6. And Flames Wept To Heaven
  7. The Curse Of The Gypsy
  8. Delirium
  9. Tenth Wave
  10. Smoke Figures
  11. The Martyr And Deliverance
  12. Farewell

Twilight Vetrieb
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Nov 28, 2010

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