Russia’s wealth in the Doom/Death Metal genre is astonishing, especially thanks to the label duo of Solitude Productions and BadMoodMan, which are releasing them by the dozen (almost), and what is even more surprising is the pretty high level of quality that is maintained, so a win-win situation for the genre fan. One of the latest discoveries from the vast lands of Mother Russia is WINE FROM TEARS from Samara, whose oddly titled debut album “Through The Eyes Of A Mad” is spinning in my player at the moment and definitely is to be placed towards the higher rungs of the genre’s ladder.
Taking their name from a THY SERPENT song off the Finnish Black Metallers’ “Forest Of Witchery” album (1996), the quintet is basically offering us several of the genre staples, such as melancholic melodies, deep growls, mostly slow tempo and an overall dense atmosphere, but instead of just painting by numbers and going through the motions, WINE FROM TEARS actually prove that they know how to craft quality songs that will capture the listener and make him/her come back to the album more than just once. And it is not one particular element that I could single out, but it is the album or the song as a whole that can convince, some because they can offer us a little reprieve from the doom and gloom, such as the clean guitar break with spoken word on “Since I Fell...”, the piano on “Funeral Time” or the female guest vocals of “Feeding The Angel” (brilliant track, btw!)that contrast the growls of Alexey Nesterov, so the devil is in the details, as they say.
Now the Russians never get complex, but put more emphasis on efficiency, be it in the melodies, the harmonies or just the atmospheric approach to the song, which makes the tracks surprisingly easy to digest and while many people always think that growls destroy any good song, the deep growls fit perfectly with the gloomy mood the band builds up and they harmonize excellently with the haunting melodies that tie in with the aforementioned atmosphere. Only closing track “Meus Altius Pater Noster” does not fit with the rest, as it has different vocals and also a somewhat different atmosphere, thus disrupting the flow, but as it is the last track anyways, you just have to hit stop before and we’re good to go, haha.
Compared to other bands, WINE FROM TEARS are not overtly heavy, but form a very good balance and while it probably will be hard to point them out in a line-up of 10 Doom/Death bands, “Through The Eyes Of A Mad” is a very enjoyable debut album that hopefully will be followed with a worthy successor soon. Check out, if you like this genre.
(Online April 20, 2010)