It’s a rare occurrence, but now and then, a band creates a record that just speaks to you. It’ll be the type of record that reinvigorates your love for music. It’s quite possible that Grief’s Internal Flower, the latest offering from Richmond, Virginia doom metallers, Windhand, may not speak to everyone in that way, but for myself, this album is exactly what I’ve been waiting for.
Beginning the epic, psychedelic journey that is Windhand’s music is “Two Urns,” a track that begins with the sound of a crackling fire, almost as if the band is inviting you to take a seat in their circle of doom, and have a listen. At the fifteen-second mark, the guitar work of Asechiah Bogdan and Garrett Morris begin to wash over you in a glory of loud guitars that simply ooze through your speakers. At the thirty-second mark, the rest of the band kicks in, and everything I loved about Windhand’s previous record, Soma, returns and reminds me why this band rules so much. When Ryan Wolfe and Parker Chandler come in to add their drums and bass to the mix, along with the powerful, yet soulful voice of Dorthia Cottrell, something truly magical happens.
I was stoked to see that “Forest Clouds” was included on this record. The song originally appeared on a split EP the band did with Salem’s Pot (unfortunately, I wasn’t able to nab a copy of that release, as it sold out almost immediately). It’s an incredible song, and Dorthia’s voice soars and glistens with melody on this track. “Crypt Key” begins with a gloomy sounding acoustic riff that lasts mere seconds before the blasting wall of sound returns from the band. If you’re still standing after being pummelled by those first few tracks, then the opening bass line in “Tanngrisnir” will certainly reach out of your speakers and do the trick. And if that doesn’t do the trick, the guitar solo in here definitely will.
And now, it’s time for a break from the beautiful cacophony. Up next is “Sparrow.” It’s a simple track that solely features an acoustic guitar and Dorthia’s voice in a more subdued fashion. It’s a stunning piece of music. There’s a beautiful pain to Dorthia’s voice that shines on this track.
“Hyperion” kicks in with another intense bass line, and a drum pattern that sounds like thunder. This is probably my favourite song on the record. It combines everything I love about Windhand in a neat, five-minute package. “Hesperus” and “Kingfisher” are the longest tracks on this record. These two songs alone require about thirty minutes of your attention. I can see that being an issue for some people, but when you love everything the band does, like I do, you’ll eat up those thirty minutes and enjoy every second of it, which is exactly what I did. The record ends with “Aition,” another beautiful acoustic piece, and the perfect ending to this record.
Finally, to make things even better, Grief’s Internal Flower was produced by legendary record producer Jack Endino, who’s produced some of music’s most defining records, such as Nirvana‘s Bleach, and Soundgarden‘s Screaming Life. What Jack brings to the table is a stripped-down approach that brings out a raw sounding record that is equally brutal and beautiful. Grief is Windhand’s masterpiece, and carries the doom metal torch further along on its journey. The year may not be over yet, and there’s certainly some bands releasing great records on the horizon, but I’d say Grief’s Internal Flower might just end up being my pick for album of the year.
Written by Dominic Abate
*edited by Danielle Kenedy