WINTER (Into Darkness) LP/CD
I can still recall people's reaction to 'Into Darkness' when it was originally released in 1990 on Future Shock Records. You either loved it or hated it. And most people hated this CD. This didn't change when 'Into Darkness' was reissued by Nuclear Blast Records in 1992. For the majority of listeners, WINTER was a peculiar band who have resisted the pull of the media. There were only a very few interviews and no pictures of the band. I always liked that attitude of refusal and this is also why I would have wished that there never was a reunion of WINTER, but that's an other story however. But more important than the band's scanty media presence was of course the music.
To me personally, it's a genius mix consisting of Amebix, Hellhammer and Black Sabbath. The cold and oppressive atmosphere as well as the apocalyptic aesthetics clearly showed that WINTER came from the political hardcore punk environment. The cover artwork and the lyrics go perfectly with Amebix while the vocal style and a few songs cannot deny the band's love for Hellhammer. Also, the heavy mindbending riffs that permeated both of Black Sabbath's releases 'Master Of Reality' and the self-titled debut, are present here as well. 21 years have now passed since this CD has been released for the first time and nowadays it seems as if the whole world loves the crushing weight that is 'Into Darkness'. It's no surprise therefore that Southern Lord did the fourth reissue of this milestone in the history of heavy music.
Personally I think that this album has lost none of its allure. The songs are lengthy and repetitious and that's what makes them effective. There are only a few mid-tempo parts, but most of the time the album creeps along in uncompromising, unstoppable dirges, resonating with feedback and hellish ambience. WINTER still force the listener to bow before the blackest altars of end time as they crawl and crack into the skull with massive downtuned guitars and crashing drums. The sonic darkness is absolutely impermeable and truly captures an inhuman post-war scenery. It's no surprise therefore that, 21 years ago, a lot of people were overstrained by this wall of sound. As previously mentioned, the WINTER reunion is all wrong in my view, but that does not alter my opinion that 'Into Darkness' is a brutal masterpiece.