Windham Hell
Window of Souls
[Moribund]


"Window of Souls" is certainly an interesting album, those that pop up once in a while and restore your interest in what is going on. Instead of taking on old, safe ways of symbolic interpretation or aural communication, they twist things around in their sick heads and make you feel like you are participating on a trip. Windham Hell is a kind of a project; it doesn't sound like a band, bands are never weird like this. Both of the members are more than adequate with their instruments and they really do use them, both guitars and drums, to create a kind of melancholy, yet insanely celebrating carnival of instrumental madness. Vocals are notably few; indecipherable low grunts that pass you by as if they were exhalations from satisfied, yet tired performers. Apparently they have been inspired by things such as Windham's mountaineering hobby and the TV series 'Twin Peaks'; you hear both in here if you pay attention. Death metal is present in the sharp, cutting, staccato (?hope this is the word) wrist-rhythm much of the guitar riffing is built on; the drums go straight to jazz and don't try to keep things under control. It is not totally dark, the way you are used to hearing in the metal underground - leads are trebly and joyful, Vivaldi is covered with as much feeling as most bands use to cover Slayer. Yet after hearing this you wouldn't go around calling it a happy album. It's ambivalent and abstract, almost to the point of lacking a tangible substance. It's a kind of music for the silence that you can not eat the way one eats a Dark Funeral album (devoured at one listen and nothing remains). You use this music to reflect what is going on inside you.

I sure am interested to hear what else this band has done, since it's somehow the strangest thing to think that they could keep this going on for many albums, but also I can't expect anything normal from this path they've chosen to follow. Nods to Moribund for releasing this strange thing to plague my mind. A word about the imagery and general aesthetics; it's grim in a way that catches you because these days, at least where I am, I get used to simple in-your-face answers and when most of the time they lack in execution - you have nothing to build on. The subtlety of Windham Hell can catch you off guard and trailing off to a darkness deeper than you can do by simply cracking your head against nearest church door. In ambient and industrial music this is done often but metal has a bit of a tendency to get stuck in the way that 'surely does it', instead of shaking the routine. Killing with poison in the water pipes can be more efficient than shooting, even with bazooka. The damage you want to do must be directed precisely or you just end up with lots of rubble and your enemies still standing.

The production of 'Window of Souls' is a bit bland, audible as everything is though; they do put faith in their ability to maneuver interestingly enough with the instruments so they don't need to spice it up with oooomph in the sound itself. A good choice maybe because you hear it's honest, in-your-face and not posing. The vocals are so under-put that maybe they could have been handled better, perhaps by another vocalist.


2001 black hate