Windhand return with a dose of hypnotic and murky doom on their sophomore effort, Soma, named for a drink whose consumption is often described as a religious experience. Where the soma of legend is more of an invigorating experience, the album takes listeners in an altogether different direction, entrancing them with a monolithic wall of impossibly dense, distorted amp worship whose sheer enormity can barely pass through mortal speakers. Living up to the implications of its title, though, Soma is an album that feels almost ritualistic, deriving power through repetition as the songs build a steady momentum that leaves them feeling unstoppable once they've gotten up to speed. Setting Windhand apart from the scores of beardy doom merchants looking to push their Matamps to sonic extremes are the vocals of Dorthia Cottrell. Effortlessly weaving their way through the band's massive output, Cottrell's singing feels like a spirit conjured by Windhand's musical séance. Set against the sludge created by the rest of the band, the vocals take on an ethereal quality, feeling as though any slight disturbance might cause them to dissipate like a wisp of smoke. Windhand also aren't afraid to step away from extreme volume, occasionally letting things quiet down with stretches of acoustic guitar that give listeners time to catch their breaths amidst the suffocating fog of doom the band is so adept at creating. Clocking in at over an hour, Soma is by no means a brief experience, but Windhand's ability to craft doom that actually feels dynamic makes the album the sort of meditative journey that metal fans would be foolish not to embark upon.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney