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Wino - "Adrift" (CD)

Wino - "Adrift" CD cover image

"Adrift" track listing:

1. Adrift
2. I Don't Care
3. Hold On Love
4. Mala Suerte
5. Old & Alone
6. Iron Horse / Born To Lose
7. Suzanes Song
8. DBear
9. Whatever
10. Shot In The Head
11. O.B.E.
12. Green Speed

Reviewed by on December 22, 2010

"Wino's 'Adrift' is a lush, melodic masterpiece, akin to 'Jar Of Flies' and 'Book Of Shadows,' with acoustic playing every bit as dark, layered and exciting as his electric work. "

In the metal canon, there are albums defined not by their velocity or volume, but rather their dedication to melody and sense of song, delivered electrically, but with few electric instruments. Among them are "Jar Of Flies" by Alice in Chains and Zakk Wylde's "Book Of Shadows." To these, add Scott "Wino" Weinrich's "Adrift."

Arguably the most famous doom metal guitarist outside of Tony Iommi himself, Wino's works with St. Vitus and the Obsessed are the stuff of heavy metal legend. More recently, he was featured on Dave Grohl's Probot album.

"Adrift" presents a side of Wino that even the most dedicated fan might not know. Following the death Jon Blank, his bandmate and friend, Wino was urged by friends to create an acoustic solo album. There's a depth of feeling on "Adrift" that comes through all the clearer for the lack of drums, bass and distortion.

That's not to say that there's no metal to be had here. A cover of Motorhead's Hell's Angels anthem "Iron Horse / Born To Lose" is every bit as strong as the original. The bluesy AC/DC stomp of "Shot In The Head" is a pleasantly upbeat surprise on a largely subdued disc.

Like Zakk Wylde on "Book Of Shadows," Wino knows just when to add a little electric spice. The distorted guitar solo on "I Don't Care" cuts through the acoustic rhythm guitar like a piece of jagged glass. "Mala Suerte" flips things around, with the acoustic guitars ringing out over a background of electric fuzz.

Then, there are the moments of beauty that will simply take your breath away. The instrumental "Suzanes Song" is lush and gorgeous, with just a hint of bluesy earthiness in the solo.

The lyrics are almost shockingly introspective, with Wino singing of how he's aboard a "perfect ship, fully equipped with everything but the sails" on the title track. He laments the loneliness of the rock 'n roll lifestyle on "Shot In The Head" and just tries to make sense of it all in "Hold On Love."

Unfortunately, the album flames out just a little bit toward the end. The second instrumental, "O.B.E.," which features backward electric guitars feels excessively noisy. The last track, "Green Speed," with its speedy acoustic guitars and blitzkrieg electric solos can't help but feel a little bit like Tenacious D — and the fact that Wino's voice is a bit reminiscent of Jack Black's doesn't exactly help on that score. Then again, I can guarantee it'll put a smile on your face, and that's worth plenty.

Wino's "Adrift" is a lush, melodic masterpiece, akin to "Jar Of Flies" and "Book Of Shadows," with acoustic playing every bit as dark, layered and exciting as his electric work. Simply put, it's a fantastic album that metal fans — and music fans in general — owe it to themselves to give a listen to.

Highs: "Adrift," "Iron Horse / Born To Lose," "Shot In The Head" and "Suzanes Song"

Lows: The instrumental "O.B.E."

Bottom line: A melodic, acoustic metal masterpiece.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)