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Andy Winter - "Incomprehensible" (CD)

Andy Winter - "Incomprehensible" CD cover image

"Incomprehensible" track listing:

1. Reversed Psychological Patterns (7:15)
2. My Illusions Are My Own (3:06)
3. Perfection Is the Blank Page (3:38)
4. Somewhere Else to Disappear (3:31)
5. Through the Eyes of a Surrealist (4:53)
6. Far Beyond Autopilot (5:05)
7. The Transversal Conjecture (5:02)
8. Back to Square Two (6:22)

Reviewed by on February 11, 2013

"Music lovers (as opposed to just metal heads) will get a lot out of 'Incomprehensible' if they dig the more experimental Norwegian artists (Ihsahn, Peccatum, etc.) and don’t mind things staying more clean and less extreme."

Having been involved in various underground Norwegian and international acts, such as Subterranean Masquerade and Winds, Andy Winter is now out with his own “solo” album. Despite bearing his name, this album is a who’s-who of avant-garde Norwegian musicians, along with a smattering of U.S. members from the atmospheric scene. Perhaps less heavy of an offering than you’d expect from the land of frozen black metal, “Incomprehensible” is one for fans of music that crosses genre boundaries and mixes things up.

Every song includes a different vocalist, so the lyrical delivery differs drastically from track to track. “Incomprehensible” boasts a guest lineup with members of such bands as Agalloch, Madder Mortem, Tristania, StarofAsh, Novembers Doom, and more. Opening track “Reversed Psychological Patterns” immediately provides a glimpse both into the wide-ranging vocal work, and into the oddly experimental nature of the album, when high-pitched singing is layered over the female vocals of Madder Mortem's Agnete M. Kirkevaag.

The vast majority of the vocals are on the clean end, although there’s still a wide range of vocal work within that spectrum of clean singing. The only harsh growls show up on “The Transversal Conjecture,” courtesy of Paul Kuhr from Novembers Doom. Opposed to the ever-changing voices, the base music itself stays much more consistent, ending up a mixture of dark rock with some power metal leanings, all firmly placed in a prog or avant-garde setting. The instrumentation is on the slower and more methodical side, which works in general, only dragging down on “Through the Eyes of a Surrealist,” which loses momentum with its snail pacing.

The atmosphere of the album is top-notch, and the diverse lineup of vocalists makes for an eclectic listen. Fans of the guest musicians will also be in for a real treat, picking out their favorite vocalists as they appear. Music lovers (as opposed to just metal heads) will get a lot out of “Incomprehensible” if they dig the more experimental Norwegian artists (Ihsahn, Peccatum, etc.) and don’t mind things staying more clean and less extreme.

Highs: Great vocal work from a huge range of bands, interesting dark rock instrumentation

Lows: There's only a tiny smattering of truly heavy material, and sometimes the guitars are a bit muddied by the mix

Bottom line: This atmospheric outing features a diverse array of Norwegian and American vocalists for a different experience on every track.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)