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WINTERLONG Metal/Technology Lion Music (2006)

I thoroughly enjoyed Winterlong's last album, a very well played and accomplished slab of power metal. This time around though main man Thorbjorn England has gone it alone playing all instruments and handling vocals.

Gone are the passages of romping power metal, instead it sounds like 'Painkiller' era Judas Priest on many tracks like the opener 'The Hunter' even down to the screaming vocals. 'Go To Hell' and 'On A Demon's Night' fair pummel the senses with relentless drumming and some great guitar soloing.

The guitars are superb as you'd expect although personally the drums sound too programmed and the album would be better with a vocalist, Tim 'Ripper' Owens would be ideally suited for instance. Be interesting to see how this brave move away from the band's previous sound goes down with the fans.

I personally like it as it gives a new sound with my only gripe being the vocals that struggle to be heard on some songs.

***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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