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Winter : Into Darkness + Eternal Frost

It is fitting that the entire Winter discography is reissued on a label with a name like Nuclear Blast: this is the music of the apocalypse's aftermath. With the sluggish intro 'Oppression Freedom / Reprise' serving as Armageddon, the remainder of this release is akin to a downtrodden journey through the debris of the very structure of civilization, as a bleak landscape of urban ruins extends for miles in every direction.

Like I said before, contained on this disc is the entire legacy of the US doom outfit Winter, including their debut 'Into Darkness' (initially released in 1990 on Future Shock Records, and then re-released for the first time in 1992 by Nuclear Blast), and the 'Eternal Frost' EP (originally their self-titled, 1989 demo, which was re-released by Nuclear Blast in 1994 with the aforementioned name.) Unfortunately, after the release of their one and only full-length, Winter disbanded, however they left behind some killer, icy, frozen shit, which, sadly, has become unrightfully overlooked during the last decade.

As riff after riff of doomed out Hellhammer worship pounds out your eyes from the inside, one feels as if they themselves might collapse from the sheer oppression of the music. However, these releases are not particularly oppressive in the attacking, full-throttle black metal way, or in the mind-boggling, pretentiously-technical approach; no, not in the least, for the sluggish pace and downright HEAVINESS alone is far more than enough to drive most away.

Basically, and I cannot stress the Hellhammer influence enough, Winter can be seen as the music Tom G. Warrior would have created during the transition period between Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, however all the while addicted to depressants or barbiturates of some sort. The releases are the absolute perfect mix between Candlemass-esque doom and old-school (read: proto) death metal, plodding along at agonizingly groggy paces, while the guitars and (surprisingly audible) bass sludge onwards, forming into semi-recognizable shapes of a brief scene of the pure essence of war, before kicking you square in the nuts so that the adrenaline doesn't flow too strongly.

Both halves of this discography are beyond exceptional, however different people may (and will) prefer opposite halves. The first (being the full-length) is considerably slower, doomier, and just plain more depressing. The death metal influence is still present of course, and in very strong quantities, however it is outweighed by the darkness and even the fear of a world on the edge on the tracks. But for the before-this-band-never-existing inter-Hellhammer/Celtic Frost phase, the EP is where it's at. It is a great deal faster, rawer, and hell, its fuckin' punkier than the full-length; even in the demo versions of the full-length tracks, the difference is obvious. All of this is, though, ignoring the final song, 'Manifestations 1', which is NOT a very good indication of what Winter is really like. It is an ambient/experimental/noise track, which sounds like it could have been made using only the guitar as its prime instrumentation source, and it's an excellent noise track, but not the best of Winter tracks.

Winter was one of the single most influential doom/death metal bands of the early 90s, helping to pave the way for the likes of Morgion, diSEMBOWELMENT, hell, even early My Dying Bride and Anathema, not to mention the countless others. Winter could very well be, along with Paradise Lost, the first band to mesh slooooooow doom metal with death metal; it is highly recommended for fans of the aforementioned. A genre classic, no, fuck that, just a classic in general if there ever was one. Get this now. You need it.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Oppression Freedom / Reprise
2. Servants Of The Warsmen
3. Goden
4. Power And Might
5. Destiny
6. Eternal Frost
7. Into Darkness
8. Servants Of The Warsmen
9. Eternal Frost
10. Winter
11. Blackwhole
12. [hidden track]

Duration : Approx. 71 minutes.

Visit the Winter bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Adam Mundy
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