If there ever was album that epitomized pure misery and inescapable doom, then “Into Darkness” is it. A band that attained cult status only years after they split up, WINTER is no ordinary Doom band – what you’ll get here are some of the slowest songs ever, coupled with a truly morose and depressing atmosphere. So, this is not easy listening or headbanging material by a long shot, no, this is music to die to…
As mentioned, the song tempos are extremely slow and plodding (in a good way) and upon first listen I thought that these guys took smoke breaks in the middle of the songs!! Starting off with the grim instrumental opener “Oppression Freedom Oppression” we are immediately struck in the face with “Servants Of The Warsmen” that features everything that is characteristic of this album: eerie background noises, riffs that are slow but heavy beyond reason and vocals that sounds like that of a cross between Glen Benton and Rich Lipscomb (of FLESHGRIND). Yes, this is nasty stuff folks! On subsequent songs like “Destiny” and the title track they do speed things up a bit and these really showcase drummer Joe Goncalves’ skills behind the kit.
The production is a major highlight of this album – it’s got a crisp, clear sound but at the same time there is this very eerie reverb-effect that gives a somewhat echoing sound to everything recorded herein. It just serves to heighten the sense of doom and darkness that this album conveys. No lyrics are included, but judging by the band bio in the booklet, they deal with issues such as social behavior, environmental decay and politics – topics that are typical to many socially aware bands.
This is not an album you can just casually listen to, you have to feel it. That might sound cliché, but it is very applicable to this particular album. This is not simple entertainment, nor even art – this is the voice of a darkened soul crying out for help in an already doomed world, a world where all hope has been lost and where everything will inevitably spiral down into darkness…
PS – This album is not recommended for people suffering from depression and those that have a penchant to hurt themselves. This will mangle your mind!! (Online April 15, 2006)