Winterhorde
Maestro


4.5
superb

Review

by ramon CONTRIBUTOR (24 Reviews)
May 20th, 2016 | 64 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A masterful work. An intricate riddle.

The mass of musical media being transported from here to there is beyond anything history has experienced thus far. Bedroom musicians and rural projects find success through consistent quality, rather than consistent advertising. While Winterhorde's inception was a generous 17 years ago, and their release schedule has been anything but consistent, it seems their breed of Israeli-tinted melodic black metal might just receive the attention it deserves with their magnificent opus, Maestro. This hour-long chronicle of remorseless insanity is dense with painstakingly fine details that paint an uncomfortably vivid image of a world imbued with desecration. Nothing is remiss; this is a living, breathing microcosm of dramatic dementia.

Maestro is a trap. Beneath the beauty of the symphonic arrangements and melodic crescendos lies an unintelligible, drowned voice that screams bloody murder. The mesmerizing opener, "That Night in Prague", quite literally lures in the unsuspecting, before closing its doors on escape with the cue of tyrannical laughter. These fragments of impending fear are littered all throughout Maestro, and the album plays out almost as an auditory investigation. "Antipath" provides a bombastic, orchestra-driven introduction to Winterhorde's world through furious percussion and cascading riff work. A steady ramp in intensity builds over the course of the first half of Maestro, reaching a pinnacle at "Chronic Death". It is a pummeling concoction of death metal and black metal, with orchestral elements popping in to increase builds to massive levels.

Without compromising primary album themes, the second half of Maestro takes a tonal shift. The monumental "The Heart of Coryphee" ebbs and flows between extreme dynamics over its gargantuan run time, and the band is presented at full capacity. Huge walls of sound are formed on multiple occasions, only to be broken up by atmospheric interludes. The transitions from aggressively large instrumentation to these quieter interludes is astoundingly clean, and while certain dynamic shifts are a tad harsh, these shifts are far and few between. A rather compressed mix causes for said shifts to have less of an effect on the ears, though a record such as this would definitely benefit from a greater dynamic range. This range issue is especially evident in the title track as the powerful chorus doesn't pack as much punch as it should when following up such an entrancingly mellow intro. "Through the Broken Mirror" serves as a fantastic reminder, however, of just how solid the album mix is. The expansive orchestration melds perfectly with the metal elements, and every instrument sounds crisp in the mix.

As the curtains drew on "Dancing in Flames", I was still left with many questions. My imaginary investigation felt incomplete. Replay. A few more clues surfaced, and a few more plot holes were filled in. Replay. Links between tracks were formed, and the mystery came to a close. Replay. New situations surfaced, and my attempts at solving this demented riddle were foiled. Repeat. It is rare for a record to spark so much intrigue purely at the hands of its sound. The journey from entrapment to eventual release is tiring, explosive, crafty, and perplexing. Every attempt yields wildly different results, and yet Maestro is ridiculously consistent. The same characters, same weapons, same location, but multiple possible conclusions. A masterful work. An intricate riddle.



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user ratings (50)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
May 19th 2016


1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't really have much in terms of negativity to say about this record. 100% certain this will be getting rotations in years to come from me (probably explains how pretentious this review probably reads). Hope y'all are having a wonderful Friday (or Thursday, timezones man..)! Huge sucker for theatrics.



http://vicisolumrecords.com/album/maestro

Spag
May 20th 2016


2450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review for a great album mate. I need to give this more listens but at the moment I still slightly prefer Underwatermoon. But this is incredibly solid for what it is.

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2016


10207 Comments


Great review man, this seems interesting so I'll definitley check it.

Digging: Emperor - IX Equilibrium

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2016


1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've just found that every time I spin this, new stuff pops up that I missed on previous plays. Underwatermoon is a little more cohesive on the whole, but I feel this album benefits from meticulous detail. Thanks for the kind words!



Thanks dude! I see you are quite the fan of Tyr and Equilibrium. I personally found this album has quite a few tonal similarities to both bands so hopefully it'll be a great listening experience for ya!

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2016


10207 Comments


Ooooh that's sold me, will jam asap

Kusangii
May 20th 2016


1460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm kinda hesitant to listen to this... I've been a big fan of this band and Nebula is one of my all time favorites, but the singles they released didn't do much at all for me. Your review was very well written though, and you made it sound a lot more promising than I had in mind, so I'll give it a shot.

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2016


1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Let me know what you think. Quite the fan of Tyr, and especially love Heri's guitar tutorials. The dude is a genius.



Give it a go man. It took me a few spins before it really began to click with me.

Hawks
May 20th 2016


48909 Comments


Wtf I didn't even know these guys were still around, gonna have to listen to this.

Digging: Deadwood - Picturing a Sense of Loss

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2016


1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They do enjoy cruising in hiatus

Hawks
May 20th 2016


48909 Comments


Eh this is decent, but the previous album is way better.

NLD
May 20th 2016


589 Comments


This is sounding pretty cool

DungeonBoy
May 20th 2016


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did I just hear a theremin? Pos, bro. Never heard this band before but it's bizarre and I like it.

NLD
May 20th 2016


589 Comments


This seems solid enough but I'm not liking it near as much as you are crypt. Good review though

Kusangii
May 20th 2016


1460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This sure as hell is an ambitious album, and I'm actually more impressed than I expected to be. I guess it's one of those albums you need to give some time to fully grasp.

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2016


10207 Comments


"Quite the fan of Tyr, and especially love Heri's guitar tutorials. The dude is a genius"

He sure is, those lessons are really cool and I'm glad he does them, even if I only understand 50% of what he's doing and can play around 1% of it (:

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2016


1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hawks, that was a pretty quick summation. Personally thought this one exceeded Underwatermoon in many respects, and especially after giving both a good amount of airtime.



"This sure as hell is an ambitious album, and I'm actually more impressed than I expected to be. I guess it's one of those albums you need to give some time to fully grasp."



I probably should have just written a soundoff.



Yah, Heri is a bit of a wizard. I wish more guitarists in his vein would do in-depth tutorials.

Hawks
May 21st 2016


48909 Comments


I mean that's only two listens in, but I'm not digging this much at all.

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2016


1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aye, all is good. I'm still finding new things to love about it. Thanks for taking a look!

Spag
May 26th 2016


2450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is got even better on the second listen. Cold and They Came with Eyes of Fire are awesome.

cryptologous
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2016


1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a grower in every sense of the word imo



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