Windrunner
MAI


3.5
great

Review

by Winsomniac USER (24 Reviews)
December 10th, 2018 | 14 replies


Release Date: 11/30/2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Young upstarts carrying the torch with a unique flourish all their own

2018 has been a tumultuous year for heavy music, from drama and tragedy amongst the ranks of iconic metal groups to resurgent releases from acts thought played out. Throughout all of it, one realization seems inevitable. Like their predecessors before them, the vanguard of 00’s metalcore led by bands like Underoath, August Burns Red, and the like has aged; some groups more gracefully than others.

While the next generation of heavy is absolutely shaping up, we usually see little variation, and along predictable vectors. Established bands are opting to go heavier and more aggressive, or melodic and more palatable to a mainstream audience. Meanwhile, a strange little trend of oddball acts from unexpected regions of the world have been popping up, and in some cases, making a serious impression.

I’m willing to bet Windrunner is going to be one of latter. In many ways, their debut LP is more or less predictable. At a glance, MAI sounds just a notch above a tastefully placed intro song to an interesting anime. Asian-infused melodies and inoffensive production accompany above-average metalcore instrumentation and good but predictable lyrical themes. However, in a genre as mapped-out as modern metalcore seems to be, detail can distinguish a lot.

Windrunner’s approach to technical metalcore is certainly refreshing, if divisive. To be sure, the Asian-influenced elements in MAI are sure to incite a strong reaction, positive or negative. Rather than agonize over whether they are worse or better, Windrunner’s performance on their debut LP gives the impression of a band content to simply express itself. On that front they certainly do, and with astonishing panache. Songs like "Sakura" and "Oleander" might be a touch gimmicky, but feature clean instrumentation and a showcase a wealth of inspired songwriting that is surprisingly well-executed for a debut. If anything, the added piano playing occasional Asian string tones coupled with the female-fronted vocals make Windrunner a little overwhelming at times.

Overall, the album punches well above its weight class, with the eponymous title track having all the makings of a seriously infectious ‘core earworm. Female-led vocals in the metal community seem to either categorically impress or irreparably offend the ears of fans. This album certainly isn’t going to change that, but at its best, the clean singing found on MAI is absolutely a highlight, and one not often found elsewhere. Backed by more than capable instrumentation, the album represents a promising start to say the least.



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user ratings (14)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Winsomniac
December 10th 2018


8620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Welp, I'm pretty rusty, so do me a favor and roast me with some constructive criticism.



This deserved a review and no one else did it yet, so this is all y'all get. Worth a listen!

Digging: Dayseeker - Sleeptalk

Uzumaki
December 10th 2018


1669 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice to see someone else enjoyed this! For the past year or so, I’ve hit a bit of a saturation point for metalcore, so ive been trying to find metalcore that sounds fresh and different, and I stumbled across this album. While it’s not earth-shattering, it does tick enough boxes that I can enjoy it. Like you, I’ll be interested to hear whatever they do next.

Digging: Rain of Salvation - A War Outside and Within

cvlts
December 10th 2018


9642 Comments


does it junz?

Digging: Gatecreeper - Deserted

Winsomniac
December 10th 2018


8620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think you already know the answer to that, my dude ;)

Hopelust
December 12th 2018


3457 Comments


Ever hear of that like post-hardcore band Nature Living?

Winsomniac
December 12th 2018


8620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have not! I'll check them out when I get a chance though. Do they sound similar to this?

BallsToTheWall
December 19th 2018


49780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This band fuckin rules.

Digging: Pastel Ghost - Ethereality

Hopelust
December 19th 2018


3457 Comments


I dunno but they were from Japan and jumped on the north american post-hardcore/alternative punk train of the early millenium. Your review made me think of them...

I should listen to this!

Winsomniac
December 21st 2018


8620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whoa! Rogue Balls comment!



They're definitely interesting. I'm more curious to see where they'll go from here, but the title track is real nice for sure.

Hopelust
December 21st 2018


3457 Comments


Dope. I'll check it for sure.

BallsToTheWall
December 21st 2018


49780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I’ve always wanted to hear more female singing in metalcore, especially with the current sound, and this was a pleasant surprise. Sup Winn.

Winsomniac
December 24th 2018


8620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, the harsh vocals aren't the best I've ever heard, but the singing I liked a lot for the most part. Cool to see you liked it too.



I'm doin' well, happy holidays dude!

DatsNotDaMetulz
May 3rd 2019


3919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a good debut album. It has some of the pitfalls that tend to plague many new bands in this genre, but they have a lot of room to progress. I also wrote my own review of it here: https://youngbrokepissed.blogspot.com/2019/05/album-review-windrunner-mai.html

OwMySnauze
June 23rd 2019


2023 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Been jamming this all week, the cleans are top notch. Probably the best female cleans in metal/rock/etc



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