Winds- The Imaginary Direction Of Time (The End)
review by Jim Clark

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
12. Infinity



Even though Winds hail from Norway, their brand of metal actually recalls American prog-metal stalwarts Dream Theater and Queensryche far more than Scandinavian counterparts like Opeth.

And the band’s second full-length release, The Imaginary Direction Of Time, illustrates a highly classical-influenced sound with these progressive leanings. For starters, 11 of the 12 tracks start with either piano or a string quartet, instrumentation that occasionally shows up in some metal music but rarely dominates it to this degree.

This leads to an interesting contrast. A beautiful string or piano part will be playing, such as on the opening track, “What Is Beauty?,” while Carl August Tidemann churns out aggressive metal riffs and speedy solos and drummer Jan Axel von Blomberg pounds away. Keyboardist and principal songwriter Andy Winter adds some Dream Theater-ish, “play as fast as you can” synthesizer parts and vocalist/bassist Lars Eric Si mixes up the vocals from the straightforward to the dramatic.

But what’s interesting for a song or two can become repetitive if it’s done constantly, and that’s exactly the case on The Imaginary Direction Of Time. When the opening string quartet and metallic guitar riffs open “The Fireworks Of Genesis,” it sounds like we’ve already heard it all before with Tidemann again playing guitar arpeggios at the speed of sound on this number, as it seems he does throughout much of the disc.

However, Winds do deserve credit for a few things with The Imaginary Direction Of Time. Si shows that he is quite a capable vocalist as he delivers some decent melodies. The fact that a real string quartet is used, as opposed to synthesizers, is always a plus as the arrangements and playing are quite lovely. And the fact that Winds incorporate the strings so extensively, despite being overdone, still shows quite a bit of ambition. And there is some fine songwriting, such as on “Silence In Despair.”

Winds would fare far better if some of the excesses – the fast solos and overuse of strings – were cut back on. The potential is definitely there. Some of Dream Theater and Queensryche’s material slip into their own excesses, but they’ve managed to hone their craft well enough to get away with it and avoid tedium. It remains to be seen if Winds can do the same.

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