Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower ALBUM REVIEW

I should’ve listened to the cover on this one. Some about it told me this was going to be a stinker, I just couldn’t put a finger on what. Looking back on it, the cover is just so soft. It looks like the cover of some 70s hippie band’s wanky progressive rock concept album about how we’re raping the wilderness or something. It’s the kind of cover that reminds me of a retirement home, with those soft purples and baby blues, the color of the pants my grandma used to wear. In a nutshell, this album is soft as hell, both in cover and in music.

It starts with the vocals. The weak, echoey whisper like sound unnerves the hell out of me, especially in combination with the guitars that sound as if they’re not even trying. Grief’s Infernal Flower is like what stoner doom would sound like in 1971, in a bad way. The whole album sounds like it would take place in a modified Volkswagon bus, a place to chill out, do some weak drugs to seem cool, talk about philosophy as if you know something about it, and about how your generation is going to bring world peace and all that other cool shit that comes with it. And just like those promises, this record is totally empty and lacking of any substance whatsoever.

None of the tracks sound distinct at all except for the two acoustic interludes (which just furthers the whole bad hippie vibe) and the two 14 minute “epic” tracks. While those tracks are indeed the best tracks on the album, one of them (“Hesperus”) is like that because it is a complete ripoff of Electric Wizard. Very specifically, the vocals match the same vocal intonation pattern as Wizard in Black. Don’t believe me? Listen to the line from Wizard in Black “I am a God, I am the one, Into the chaos see my time has begun” and then listen to the this track. You’ll notice something very peculiar about. It’s almost as if they’re just about exactly the same… The rest of the track is actually quite boring, even though it actually feels heavier than any other song on the album. Heavier would lead you to believe that it fixes one of the problems this album has, but heavy doesn’t mean shit if there’s nothing behind it. And there is no shit in the toilet here, it’s just piss. Clear, water like piss, with the weakest stream you’ll ever see. The other of the two tracks Windhand actually tried on, Kingfisher, is actually the one track on the album I feel is worth listening to. Even though it still lacks a lot of personality, there is a sense of progression, and uniqueness. It’s extremely psychedelic, in a good way this time. It actually feels like you’re going on some sort of a drug trip, which is what good stoner doom should do to you. I still don’t think it’s worth being a 14 minute track, but none the less, I’ll take anything good I can get at this point.

Probably the biggest reason this album falls flat to me is the complete and utter lack of riffs. There are two total times on the album where I can hear a good solo, and no time at all when there is a prominently featured riff that takes a crowbar to you head, unhinges your skull, and shoves that earworm into you brain. It just feels like underwhelming noise. Windhand manages to create a sound that feels too cool for metal. Consequently, I feel too cool to give this a good score.