Reflections of the I


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Reflections of the I Review

by William York

Winds' first full-length, Reflections of the I, is a high-minded collection of ornate yet mellow and tastefully executed classical/progressive metal songs. The songs are bound together by soul-searching existential lyrics, which give the album a conceptual feel. In addition, the album has an overarching form to it, with the songs becoming somewhat more intense as the album goes on, giving it the feel of a suite or song cycle. This type of material risks becoming ponderous, and some of the lyrics come close to crossing that line (although, since the bandmembers are writing in English as a non-native language, they should probably be given a little slack in this department). However, the music itself is classy in its presentation, with real string accompaniment (violin, viola, and cello) as opposed to synths and softly sung/crooned vocals that avoid getting into the more high-pitched, melodramatic zone that so many singers in this style favor. Carl August Tidemann delivers his slithering, virtuosic guitar lines (which are sometimes harmonized together) with finesse, and even drummer Hellhammer, known for his hard-hitting attack on the skins, approaches his kit with more restraint than usual. The overall feel of the music is slightly dark, and there is a strong romantic tendency at work ("romantic" as in the period of classical music that bears that name; after all, one of the instrumentals is designated as a reinterpretation of a piece by romantic composer Rachmaninov). The skilled delivery of this music, together with the smooth, clear production and the consistently strong (although generally subdued) melodies make this a recommended album for fans of progressive or classically inclined metal, especially if they are willing to give it a few extra listens to allow the album's subtleties to show through. [Note: The U.S. version of this CD, released by The End Records, also includes the entirety of the band's debut mini-CD, Of Entity and Mind.]

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