June 17, 2016
“Blood & Shadow”, the second release from Winterhymn, is an epic masterpiece of pagan, symphonic metal. Hailing from Cincinnati, OH (yes…you read that correctly) Winterhymn is a six-member band with undeniable talent as both storytellers and musicians.
Winterhymn are: Guitar/Vocals – Draug, Violin – Umbriel, Guitar – Varrik, Keyboards – Exura, Drums – Valthrun, and Bass/Vocals – Alvadar.
From the opening song Blood of the Moon, I am reminded of Sabaton and Amon Amarth with the vocal styles and riffs; however, as I progressed further into the album I became even more intrigued. First the hauntingly beautiful ending of Dream of Might moving into the fast, heavy assault of Blood Burner had me on edge. Each change in melody set off the synapses in my brain like fireworks! The vocals styles of Draug and Aldavar complement each other well and the melodic changes from heavy riffs to folk metal showcase how well Winterhymn’s musicians work together. Seafarer is a beautiful acoustic ballad; I could just close my eyes and become part of the story. Therein is another surprise, the lyrics are strong, not cheesy.
The symphonic/folk metal influences are the gifts of Umbriel on Violin and Exura on Keyboards. Add in the heavy metal hammers of guitars, bass, and drums and each song delivers! The Summoning opens with a beautiful folk melody. Silenced by the Northern Winds has awesome guitar work. The Wolf’s Head is probably one of my favorite songs on the album, a fantastic blend of old-school metal and folk melodies. Then we have the epic Into the Depths with a terrific instrumental prelude. The closing song on the album, The Chosen End, is well placed as the ending anthem of a great story.
As someone who enjoys old school metal and symphonics, “Blood & Shadow” is pretty damned close to perfection.
1.Blood of the Moon
2.Dream of Might
4.Legacy in Flames
7.Silenced by the Northern Winds
8.In Shadow We Ride
10.The Wolf’s Head
11.Into the Depths
12.The Chosen End
Time: 55 minutes
Release Date: June 17, 2016
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