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Windhand : Eternal Return

The latest full-length from Windhand is a truly triumphant release, epitomising modern Stoner Doom masterpieces.

The stoner doom quartet Windhand makes their 'Eternal Return', and does so with their best album yet. In fact, it's one of the best albums I've ever heard. If you haven't dabbled with Windhand, this is where you start.

'Halcyon' is a PERFECT track. In some strange and utopian alternate universe beyond our reach, a stoned professor teaches Songwriting 101 using 'Halcyon' as a template. The hypnotic riffage is followed up by 'Grey Garden', another Stoner Doom MASTERPIECE that in the same alternate universe, would be the opening song of Windhand's performance during the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

It's clear from the start that Windhand has changed things up a bit, however. Garrett Morris is alone on guitars, doubling his parts since the departure of founding member Asechiah Bogdan. There's also been conscious attempts to trim ''fat off the steak", songwriting-wise, as Windhand aims for a polished product over a bulky one. Like some professional bodybuilder transforming his physique from 'mass monster' to 'lean machine', Windhand has whittled excess heaviness in order to spotlight detail and complexity. It seems like an inside joke only doomheads would chuckle at - suggesting Windhand has shot for brevity while still having ten minute songs - but the point remains: the group is purposeful and mindful with each note, tone, and chord.

The choices are the right ones. There's no masturbatory riffage here or lotus eater lingering often synonymous with inapt doom outfits. For a band seemingly inspired by mythology, these streamlined choices add up to a serious accomplishment for the genre. 'Eternal Return' is a perfectly juggled dichotomy of catchy melodies, unapologetic heaviness, atmospheric layers, and in-your-face riffage.

'Pilgrim's Rest' is Cottrell's hazy voice paired with clean guitars and a popping snare. 'Light Into Dark' leads us into another album stand-out, 'Red Cloud', a grunge-inspired ripper where Cottrell's thick and textured vocals soar above psychedelic guitar wailing and in-the-pocket drumming by Ryan Wolfe. Groovy. In my parallel universe, MTV beams this video to millions of teenage eyeballs as if it was Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'.

'Eyeshine' slows things down a bit, an eleven-minute tank and the most traditional doom clip on the album, before 'Diablerie' emerges, a catchy uptempo number that signifies the overall shift Windhand has undergone.

The album wraps with the eleven-minute 'Feather', an eerie epic full of Cottrell's harmonized vocals, steel-stringed strumming, soupy solos, and dense riffing. This one floats around your skull and carries you away transfixed and entranced by the dark magic within it. It's a perfect ending for a triumphant effort in OUR universe where we get to experience it, and not in one painfully out of reach.

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Reviewer's rating: 10/10


Tracklist :
1. Halcyon
2. Grey Garden
3. Pilgrim's Rest
4. First to Die
5. Light Into Dark
6. Red Cloud
7. Eyeshine
8. Diablerie
9. Feather

Duration : Approx. 62 minutes

Visit the Windhand bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-10-29 by Mark B
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