Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: "Set Me Apart" and "Life Begins"

Rating out of 10

 Winchester – Life Begins At These Dead Ends

Release Date: 9th February 2018
Self Released
Purchase: http://winchesteruk.bigcartel.com/

Its difficult to define UK trio Winchester; perhaps the best way to get an idea of what they are would be for you to check out their debut album ‘Life Begins At These Dead Ends‘. It has a real depth of sound which varies from post hardcore to melodic rock and all that’s in-between. They are a breath of fresh air in the metal world right now. Striking the perfect balance between brutality and melody, the album is sure to catch all the right attention from anyone caring to indulge in it.

Life Begins At These Dead Ends‘ is a subtly heavy album, opening with the very gentle and atmospheric ‘Life Begins’. It lulls you into a false sense of security – even though the track gives way to some relatively heavy post hardcore it’s so melodic that you don’t realise just how heavy the track is becoming. With a final minute of shout/scream vocals you get a brief taste of what is to come.

Diamond‘ is atmospheric and gives us more of the screamed vocal mixed in with the clean. The track, much like the album as a whole, feels like it’s building to its own brutal crescendo, pulling back at the last moment before brutality and chaos ensue. It’s done incredibly well and gives the music a vital, almost desperate feel. Vocally and lyrically it’s full on throughout, which adds the controlled chaos feel to the whole thing.

Animal‘ has nods to bands such as Bring Me The Horizon/Architects with its electronic, atmospheric soundscape but has breakdowns and brutal riffs that bands like Slipknot would be proud of. Again, I have to say that vocally it’s very well delivered, there’s an intensity here that is absent from far too many releases of this kind.

After the brutality of ‘Animal‘ I’m almost taken completely by surprise by the piano intro to safe in sound, the track unfolds into an eye of the storm moment, haunting and slow in place with brief bursts the ferociousness that make this record so enjoyable.

At These‘ begins with the fade out of the previous track and sounds ominous – horror movie ominous in fact. The guitars and bass gradually increase in intensity, so you’re left anticipating a vocal that doesn’t come but doesn’t disrupt an album that has flowed pretty well so far. ‘Problem‘ feels almost joyful, it really shouldn’t work set among such a heavy backdrop but again, vocally it distracts you from a riff that is actually pretty heavy,  ‘Line Up’ comes in and punches you square in the face with its opening riff and shouted vocal, before launching into euphoria with its chorus.

Set Me Apart‘ seems to blend so many different styles into one that it becomes a real interesting listen, you’ll revisit this track for sure. The record closes with ‘Dead Ends‘ which eases off the heaviness just enough to allow you to appreciate the musicianship of what the band have made here. It’s a real heady mix of styles and will appeal to fans of so many bands. It’s heavy enough for fans of metal to enjoy but melodic enough for fans of rock to get into.

It’s almost impossible these days to create something entirely new, but what Winchester have done here is create something that stands out from the crowd. It’s different yet familiar; perhaps that’s what sets it apart, that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this works so well. Whatever it is, you should check this out and find out why it has caught peoples attention. It’s an impressive debut from the band and sure to please a real cross section of the alternative scene.

For Fans Of: Bring Me The HorizonArchitects, Slipknot

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