The Last Winter - _IRA_
by: Brian Meloon (3 out of 5)
Italy's The Last Winter may have started as a black metal band, but over the last few years, their sound has developed into something more interesting. This offering contains a few vestiges of their black metal days, most notably the vocals and some of the tremolo-picked guitar lines, but for the most part, this is mid-tempo thrash. There are only two songs here, but they're ten and twelve minutes respectively. As you would expect from long songs, the riffs and tempos change a lot. However, The Last Winter go a step beyond what's expected by employing a wide range of styles and tempos, so that the music doesn't get repetitive. Most of these styles are familiar ones, but the band do find some original sounds to offer. One area where they could use some work are the flow of their songs. In particular, the global organization of the songs didn't make much sense to me, and some of the transitions were rather clunky. The playing is generally good, though there are a few places where their timing is a little off. One more important point to mention are the vocals. While most of the vocals are standard raspy-style black metal vocals -- which fit the music pretty well -- there are four sections (totaling less than a minute, thankfully) with a clean style trying to carry a tune. I say "trying", though, because he's way out of his (very limited) range, and the end result sounds simply terrible. These sections still make me cringe every time I hear them, and this vocal style needs to be dropped immediately. Taken as a whole, though, this offering shows that The Last Winter have the potential to develop into an innovative and interesting band. They have the most important aspect for this already: an original approach and some interesting ideas. They should be an interesting band to watch, and I hope to hear more from them in the next few years.


(article published 21/3/2003)

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