Winterborn

Farewell To Saints

Written by: PP on 11/05/2009 18:42:07

The music scene in Finland is mostly known for its darker ventures, be it the melodeath metal outfits in the vein of Children Of Bodom and Enter My Silence, or the goth-themed bands ranging from love metallers HIM to straight forward rockers The 69 Eyes. Power metal on the other hand has never reached the sort of success in the country as it has in Germany, and as such the amount of good Finnish bands in the genre amount to less than a handful. Winterborn are one of the newer upstarts, releasing their debut album "Cold Reality" in 2006 to great reception by the press with some even slating it to be 'the most remarkable debut since Sonata Arctica's "Epliptica"'. That's quite a statement, and one that I'm unable to confirm since I haven't heard the record, but based on the sounds of their sophomore effort "Farewell To Saints", I'll give the band some credit and assume there's at least some truth to that statement.

Since then the band has experienced somewhat of a revolving door, however, where almost every member other than vocalist Teemu Koskela has been switched. The common saying goes that as long as your vocalist and songwriter/lead guitarist stay in the band, you have nothing to worry about, but I'd say Winterborn have a bunch of issues that need working on before they record their next album. First and foremost, the band plays textbook power metal spiced up with some typically CoB influenced keyboards and somewhat more original fretwork. Aside from the keyboard/guitar solo duels (think if CoB played power metal) and vocalist Koskela's strong vocal performance, there's little to suggest Winterborn to become the next Sonata Arctica of power metal. Essentially, they're balancing on an extremely thin thread between boring, generic power metal and something more interesting than that. This issue is evident in the tracking of the album; the first six songs are all exceptional and distinguish themselves from the over saturated genre. You've got the aggressive instrumentals of "Chaos Dwells Within" and Koskela's characteristic, 'scratchy'-clean vocal delivery, the great structure and superb ability to convey the Finnish winter war miracle in "The Winter War", as well as the anthemic choruses of "Land Of The Free" all making a good mark in your ears. But then you've got the last four tracks which are either more of the same, or even worse, the easily forgettable, filler-type material most power metal bands fill their albums with.

At the same time, there's an underlying character and sense of urgency in the band's songs, something that lacks in almost every band in the genre. This indeed showcases a lot of promise, but as I mentioned earlier, there's that constant feel that the songs are 'barely there' with the danger of falling off the generic power metal cliff only moments later. With that in mind, I'm going to award the band with a cautious 'almost good' grade. Lets see what they come up with for their next album.

Download: The Winter War, Chaos Dwells Within, Black Rain
For the fans of: Sinamore, Excalion, Lion's Share
Listen: Myspace

Release date 02.05.2009
Massacre Records

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