Windham Hell - _Mirror of Souls_
(Moribund Records, 1996)
by: Andrew Lewandowski (4 out of 10)
Windham Hell are possibly the best example of "experimental" metal, representing both the positive and negative aspects of the genre. Acoustic guitars and keyboards intersperse the "traditional" riffing of melodic death metal, yet the latter aspects are degenerate in comparison to practitioners of "pure" metal. Incessant repetition and a muddy production drains all energy from the guitar work. Only pretentious guitar solos disrupt the monotony. These dominate each song, yet an intrinsic vapidity does not allocate them enough power to build a foundation of their own. Once combined with ineffectually grunted vocalizations, the resulting mix lacks any energy. Yet once the guitars dissipate and the "experimentation" commences, WH display the melancholy and talent that never fully surfaces during their more voracious moments. Any metal band willing to cover Vivaldi (twice, no less) and experiment in sound collages on the same album deserves some amount of praise. Unfortunately, WH neglect to sufficiently explore their sedate tendencies, resulting in an album that remains incarcerated within a void between experimentation and aggression.

(article published 9/4/1997)


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