Seven long years have passed since this private release of the “Non-Aligned” album by the dark Progressive Metallers SORROWFUL WINDS from Athens, Greece. The band returns with their fourth album which is called “Deny Reality” and you know what? This is what I would call a serious comeback.
Simply because in my opinion band comebacks really matter when there is some good new music to be checked by the listener and in the case of SORROWFUL WINDS I have to ensure you that “Deny Reality” is not just a good album, it is a release able to stand beside the band’s classics.
You see SORROWFUL WINDS was one of those bands that trademarked the 90s Greek Progressive Metal movement and when I am referring to “classics” I of course point their same titled “Sorrowful Winds” second demo and their “Imminent Arrival” debut album. Those who follow the band’s releases since the 90s are aware of the overall sound evolution that is taking place on each of them. Imagine that on their very initial days SORROWFUL WINDS were actually exploring the Doom Metal realm and to tell you the truth this initial musical darkness is a feature that never left the band.
With their previous “Non-Aligned” release SORROWFUL WINDS opened a new remarkable chapter on their book of sounds. By following the overall sound direction that they have took on their previous album they are now reaching some really high levels of expression under their “Deny Reality” new album.
On “Deny Reality” the band presents a perfectly balanced mixture of darkly delivered Heavy, Power and Progressive Metal. There are some Doom touches here and there and even some tech-Thrash (!) references when things are getting faster and yes the band have managed to combine all those influences on a solid state result.
A combination of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, SANCTUARY and CRIMSON GLORY is shaping the sound basis on this album. The CANDLEMASS and KING DIAMOND influences are completing the puzzle and I am mainly referring to the Danish master of darkness thanks to the vocals of Mike I. that are really taking each and every song of the album to the very next level. I also got to point that there is a variety of additional Scandinavian Prog-Doom influences laid around the album. Yeah Prog and Doom combined. MEMENTO MORI used to do it nicely and I can for sure point their sound as an important influence in here.
I am carefully listening to the main haunting riff from the album’s first single “Quite Evil” and I am thinking again what a magnificent job Thanasis Hatziagapis has done on the guitar parts of the album. “Quite Evil” is one of the most straight forward tracks of the record.
The opener “Deny Reality” is based on an overall rhythmical complexity and colorized by the amazing keyboards of Tasos Iosifidis (who is also handling the bass on the album), this track is an absolute highlight. A symphonic piece of darkness? Probably.
“Silence in the Morning” quite brought in my mind the later SYMPHONY X era -thanks to its main riff-, while on “Time Pills” I had the chance to enjoy this almost surrealistic combination of Doom and Prog Metal that is taking place on the track. You should focus on the amazing theatrical vocals on this one and on the outstanding drumming of Kostas Exarchakos (he nailed it on the entire album). Oh yes, the song’s highlight is this wonderful clean guitar and keyboards part close to the final epilogue: Its dark, its melodic, it comes from another world!
“To Slay the Last One” is one of the most epic tracks of the record and if you are in for some more darkly technical surrealism on a melancholic mood you would better check up the “Ocean Drown Me” track.
It is a serious matter of question how the hell this band manages to deliver the most catchy melodies you can imagine, through an overall artistic trademark that is built and evolved on each and every song part while on the very same time they are offering the perfectly suitable doses of technical and complex parts, sharing an adventurous still adorable result to the listener. Did I just used the word “adorable” oh yes I was listening to the “Satan’s Heart” song.
And I still have to point that I consist the two last songs of the record –“3 Years Old” and “Gone”– as two of the most huge moments of this release.
OK folks as you may have understood it is difficult to point a favorite song on this album because as you may have noticed I already have refereed to each and every song of this release. There are records which would remain in your mind thanks to three or four songs. Well this is not the case for “Deny Reality”. It is an album that is listened and experienced as an entirety from start to finish.
So to sum things up: Power, melody, complexity and dark atmosphere are the main features of this album. I am seriously consisting it as a very important chapter on the band’s discography, having to point that this is an actual comeback that really matters.
If you search for real dark art. Give this record a chance.
The album will be released on Steel Gallery Records, April, 15, 2022. You can pre-order it here.