“A glooming peace this morning, the sun for sorrow will not rear her head; so hence, to have more talk of these sad things; some shall be pardon’d and some punished; for never was a story of more woe…”
A recent turn of events has proved the existence of the undead. Shakespeare himself has risen from the dead to once again reach people’s hearts in his favorite new medium, doom metal. Yes, due to contrary belief, William can roar, plus his singing is exceptional, with his baritone and shivering manner. But why come back now, you ask? It turns out, according to a recent interview, that he was so pissed off at Aiden and their hideous lyrics and painfully insipid music that he knew he had to spread true poetry throughout impressionable youth of today. Thus he cultivated How Like A Winter.
As previously mentioned, How Like A Winter is an Italian doom band. There are 6 members going by the aliases of Dust, Agony, Tragedy, Misery, Bane, and Mist, a further addition to the themes of the band. That being said, the unique attribute of the band is that they really do sound like the spawn of the band Shakespeare would’ve created instead of the surface cliché an average passerby would discern, the obvious goal of How Like A Winter.
Going into the first song on the album, you will probably associate the band with older My Dying Bride, and for good reason. Dust’s low growl on top of slow, chugging riffs with violins certainly would bring the connection to mind, but that is where all comparisons cease. The main difference is that this band is anything but repetitive, more peculiar, and the use of violin never seems forced.
Dust is the main vocalist of the band, concurrently providing piano/orchestral arrangements as well, rarely falling back to synths. You may know him as Marco, the vocalist for The Foreshadowing. Oh yeah, Shakespeare isn’t really back, that was a joke….sorry guys. Anyhoo, Dust’s main attack is low or high growls, similar to Aaron Stainthorpe, but more powerful. He is accompanied by not one, but TWO female vocalists, just more incentive for you femme-fans.
The vocals alone seem to live inside the compositions, for the combination appears so organic…so organic to a point where it’s capable to extend to new realms with the music. While drifting through the record, you feel your mind enchanted, and ponder at the love stories within; at the cataract in the hallways of your imagination, peering into the features of the floating melodies. You may begin to think of it as a concept album and you wouldn’t be wrong to think so, however it’s only a concept of a theme; no intertwining stories, at the surface at least. A prevalent atmosphere of romanticism is everywhere, and whether its audial form be intense, swaying, mysterious, eccentric, or even painful, you will understand it.
For further sake of description, a seminal highlight of the album would have to be All The Seasons Of Madness. A venture in itself, the song kicks off instantly with a strong vocal line and jamming sounding rhythm. The drums really add so much to the song, let alone the rest of the record, with its offbeat patterns and incorporation of groove. The song then continues to a heavy, fast paced section with more melody than an old In Flames song, sporadically breaking into acoustic interludes with sharp, fast ride cymbals. It persists in the acoustic ventures until static seizes you to a new stage, one of a dark and rhythmic piano line breaking into heavy riffs and organs, until finally returning to the intro section to close.
Though guitar is fully utilized on that song, the rest of the album is much more orchestral. Granted, you still may savior your heavy sections, so no worries. Not one instrument or pattern is overused throughout the album, whether it be violin, female vocals, or repetitive guitar riffs, a definite highlight especially in this genre. Also, unlike much doom/gothic metal records, this isn’t hypnotizing in the sense that the album suffocates you until you finally realize it’s over. This album pulls you in close, yes, but it makes you pay attention to every detail. It takes you on a passage through sorrow at every poetic angle, painting a portrait with its own melancholic textures of self- induced torture and unrefined, almost primordial, passions of preserved depression. And when it’s all over, you can only sit back to marvel at the splendor of nature and sentiments of the past, in awe of how one can feel so much.
“How like a winter hath my absence been from thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year…what freezing have I left, what dark days seen with old December’s bareness…everywhere…”