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Winds - "The Imaginary Direction of Time" (CD)

Winds - "The Imaginary Direction of Time" CD cover image

"The Imaginary Direction of Time" track listing:

1. What is Beauty
2. Sounds Like Desolation
3. Theory of Relativity
4. Visions of Perfection
5. The Fireworks of Genesis
6. Under the Stars
7. A Moment for Reflection
8. Time Without End
9. The Final End
10. Beyond Fate
11. Silence in Despair

Reviewed by on September 29, 2010

"'The Imaginary Direction of Time' is a unique symphonic metal record that holds true to its values and uses real symphonic instruments to create an atmospheric landscape of sound."

“The Imaginary Direction of Time” is a true symphonic metal album. Not symphonic by way of overly loud keyboards either. We’re talking violins, violas, and cellos coupled with elegant pianos. Real symphony instruments being played by real musicians. All of that is then layered on top of incredible guitar work and wonderful vocals. Winds redefined the symphonic metal genre with this one.

Every song here does not vary much from one another. In each track, with exception of the instrumentals, you are guaranteed to hear some of the best symphonic metal out there. The music on “The Imaginary Direction of Time” does not stray too far from its predetermined formula. The piano work of Andy Winter adds a sorrowful tone to each song and vocalist Lars Eric Si is phenomenal for what he does, never exceeding a certain range. What truly sets this album apart from all the others is the beyond godly guitar work of Carl August Tidemann, who is without a doubt metal’s most unrecognized and under-rated shredder. Flawless in every aspect, Tidemann speeds across the fret board with ease and leaves the listener in a state of amazement.

One thing many people do not know about Winds is the secret identity of the band’s drummer, Jan Axel von Blomberg. Believe it or not but Jan Axel von Blomberg is none other than famed black metal drummer and Mayhem mastermind Hellhammer. Using his birth name for this release, Hellhammer manages to impress on many levels. It’s hard to believe it’s the same guy from Mayhem, but it is and blast beats never make an appearance. The drumming actually accents the music quite nicely. The drum work on “The Imaginary Direction of Time” is very subtle and honestly simplistic, which works extremely well. You have to give the man credit, he knows when to play, what to play, and how to play it. Hellhammer knows his symphonic metal.

While the songs here are all quite similar and there aren't many low points, there are some standout tracks. “The Fireworks of Genesis” goes by very fast including every aspect of the band’s sound perfectly. “Under the Stars” is much of the same, just with different melodies but with an amazing piano solo throw in for good measure. Every song is great, just take your pick. The one aspect holding this album back from becoming a masterpiece is the lyric style. While the singing itself is good, the lyrics lack any definitive structure and lessen the impact of the record with its absence of memorable hooks and big choruses. Music like this should include, even if in small doses, something to truly stick in the listener’s mind. Not everyone appreciates classical nuances and musical virtuosity in the same way.

“The Imaginary Direction of Time” is a unique symphonic metal record that holds true to its values and uses real symphonic instruments to create an atmospheric landscape of sound. Extreme metal fans will more than likely despise a record like this, but there is much to enjoy for almost everyone else. Prepare to hear undisputed musical proficiency on every level with these songs. From the violins to the cellos to the technical soloing from pianist Andy Winter and guitarist Carl August Tidemann, you are going to experience something you may have heard before, but never this good.

Highs: Stunning guitar and piano solos.

Lows: Some vocal melodies are lacking. Could use some choruses to boost the songs.

Bottom line: A unique symphonic metal record that uses real symphonic instruments.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)