Album Review: Old Wainds – Where the Snows are Never Gone

Old Wainds [Russia]
Where the Snows are Never Gone
1997/2011 (Reissue)
Demo
Zimargla Power Production/Negative Existence (Reissue)
Black Metal
7.5/10

This years sees the reissue of Old Waind‘s demo from 1997, Where the Snows are Never Gone on Negative Existence Records. Hailing from the cold lands of Russia, the cold (for the lack of a better word) and grim music on Where the Snows are Never Gone is perhaps hardly surprising at all.

The listener is greeted from the start with the harsh production quality of the album, and a howling wind in the far background, leaving a chilling atmosphere in the music. The chords played by the synths leave an ominous feeling for the listener before feedback from a guitar pierces through the background noise, giving way to the vocals of Mefisto, reminiscent of a gruffer version of Immortal‘s Abbath. The overall feel of the music brings old school Norwegian black metal bands such as Burzum and early Mayhem to mind, with the intention to spread the freezing cold and evilness in the music to the listener.

Take mind though that this hardly means that Old Wainds does not insert any elements of melody into their music. Songs such as Winter Warriors have melodies that bring Satanic Warmaster to mind, specifically Where Eternity Awaits from the split with Behexen, sufficiently bringing out the feeling of desolation and destitute in the listener. Slower parts on songs such as Eternal Wanderer of Winter Nights build up the climax and the tension before rewarding the listener once more with hyper-blast speed. While nothing fanciful or flamboyant, the drummer provides a good punishing on his kit with the fast and furious beats that stay constantly throughout the entire album. Similarly, while songs such as Guardians of the Icy Kingdom have simplistic and repetitive guitar lines, they capture the idea and atmosphere behind the music of Old Wainds, along with the other elements in the music.

The album closes with Cold Mourning of the Pale Moon, perhaps the slowest track on the record and a mark of the end of the album with haunting clean vocal lines layered on top of the fuzzy guitars playing at the background, but not before Old Wainds provides one final rush of adrenaline, with a tortured growl by Mefisto and one final moment of blasting before fading into silence.

Much as the lyrics sung by Mefisto are undecipherable, the fact that they are written in Russian also add an element of mystery to the music, compared to the conventional English/Nordic lyrics that are already so common in music now.

Being originally written and recorded in 1997, it is perhaps no surprise that Old Waind‘s Where the Snows are Never Gone has drawn influence from 2nd wave of black metal bands. However, the songs are superbly executed and the album is recommended for the aforementioned bands.

©2011 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

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