Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Winterhearth - Riverbed Empire


This is a nifty one. Black metal continues to morph and take on interesting new dimensions as the genre grows, evolves and embraces new influences. One of the latest exemplars of this is WinterheartH's new record, Riverbed Empire. This is a record that shines above and beyond so many of its peers with a unique vision, clear approach and all sorts of nifty ideas. That being said - the record is badly underproduced which really takes away lot from the greatness of what could be. Still - this is a confident step forward for the band in terms of scope. 

I think my primary issue with this record comes with the vocals. They don't really sit where they need to in the mix and don't see much development from past albums. They are deeply old school, but to a degree that I worry might alienate some fans. On the flip side though, it's actually kind of interesting to hear so many first wave black metal ideas melded with more recent ones. In particular the lyre and vocalcontribution from Anabelle Iratni (Devilment) plus the fretless bass solo by Hugo Doyon-Karout (Beyond Creation/ Equipoise/Brought by Pain) are nicely unexpected. Ultimately - Riverbed Empire is good - and it's best it's great. There are a ton of interesting ideas and moments like the intro of the title track, 'Riverbed Empire' are awesome. That being said - the record could do with another pass at production and some touch ups around the vocal delivery. Once the fat is trimmed and the mix improved Winterhearth will be onto something truly special. They'll fulfill their promise of fusing beuaty with evil, dark with light. The potential is there, now it's on them to fully execute.  Find them on Facebook!

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