Transcending you to a place engulfed in a smoky haze, littered with unwashed stoners and far from a life of any responsibility, is the kind of escapism that Windhand’s sophomore full length album ‘Soma’ offers. This is their first record with Relapse Records and follow up to their self titled self released debut. Sure it sounds a lot like Electric Wizard, but that doesn’t compromise the strength of the album, the monolithic doom element that pervades the music and dashes of stoner and psychedelic musical styling’s, combine to create an intriguing and enjoyable listen.
However, the endless waves of monotonous fuzz does start to wear thin by the end, not helped by the thirty minute finale that is ‘Boleskine’ a track only the hardcore-st of Windhand fans will give more than one listen. With only six tracks but a total time of 75 minutes, it’s a tad drawn out, ‘Boleskine’ taking up a hefty portion of the run time.
‘Orchard’ and ‘Woodbine’ are unquestionable album highlights, with the distortion turned up to 11 and enticing brooding vocals, Windhand showcase their style of doom metal in an exquisite form. The amalgamation of fuzzy yet distinct riffs, layered amongst precise drum fills and wah wah guitar solos leave a lasting presence.
‘Evergreen’ immerses some refreshing variety into the album, with its slow paced, acoustic style. Dorthia Cottrell’s vocals have to be commended, delicate and at times chilling, it’s utterly stunning from start to finish. This track demonstrates how Windhand are more than deep, dark, fuzz infused noise but can also delve into the subtlety of the mellow acoustic side of music.
‘Soma’ does a tail off a bit at the end with ‘Cassok’ and the aforementioned ‘Boleskine’ nevertheless the first three quarters of the album is spectacular enough to secure overall brilliance.