Gone Til Winter – The First Season [2011]

Band: Gone Til Winter
Album: The First Season
Release year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Metal

Gone Til Winter have been tearing up the British underground for the past few years, with their debut demo “Deconstruct The Season” receiving airtime in the UK, Belgium and France, as well as being played on Bruce Dickinson’s [Iron Maiden] show on BBC6. They’ve even gone as far as support former Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley and Forever Never. Their latest album “The First Season” was released just last year.

The album begins a strong, guitar-heavy track called “Solemnise”. If I didn’t know it was Gone Til Winter I was listening to, I would have easily mistook these for Theatres Des Vampires due to similar sound in the vocal styles and atmospheric use of keyboards. The guitars have a slight hint of thrash elements (without the aggression or speed). “Heat Signal” tears the place up next with a Lamb Of God-esque introduction. I was definitely impressed by how much the bass work could be heard throughout the song and the way it worked with the vocals.

The album takes a lighter pace of guitar work in the soft yet semi-epic sounding form of “Kill Me”. The piano adds a distinct solemnity (is that even a proper word?) to the track which I feel works wonders with the viciously raw guitar sections (or in simpler terms, the less melodic riffs). The bass work, again, can be heard clearly though it does feel like it’s working against the piano in parts of the song. “Utopia” sounds like a polish down Epica demo – musically speaking anyway. The vocal melody is off putting at first as it feels and sounds choppy and lacking any sort of flow. The orchestrated parts are partially ReVamp sounding, creating a warmth within the music. “Deep Sleep” sound void at the beginning but it gradually builds into something worth the listen, especially with the beautiful twang of the bass strings and the rhythmic splash of drums.

”Distant Places” draws in a much darker sound, much like the way that light draws draws in the moths, with the harmonious fusion of vocals and acoustic guitar work. At a few points, the track sounds like it’s going to explode with a roar of guitars and drums, but sadly it does not. Gone Til Winter certainly know how to tease your ears with this track. The dark, acoustic sound travels into the next song “Release” bringing with it a Gothic entourage of vocals and pianos that conjure up dark images and grim feelings like a necromancer calling the dead. “The First Season” comes to a sophisticated end with “Constant Retreat”. The vocals echo a warmth that makes the song sound more welcoming while the acoustic guitar softly sings a harmonic lullaby that feels like it’s apart of the vocals.

”The First Season” displays quite the variety of different sounds, elements and influences, kind of like a musical box of chocolates. Its definitely a unique album in terms of female fronted metal as it avoids the typical elements of most female fronted metal bands (i.e. beauty and beast vocals, strong orchestration). After hearing this album, I would definitely count Gone Til Winter among my top ten favourite female fronted bands.

4.8/5

Nico Davidson

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