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Winter Calling
As Darkness Falls

Company: Independent
Release: 2015
Genre: Progressive Rock
Reviewer: T. Ray Verteramo

  • Little pounce with their pretty

  • These guys have nice idea, but bad timing.

    It is seriously a shame that this very competent quartet from Florida didn't release "As Darkness Falls" about the same time as Queensryche's, "Silent Lucidity," when the world hungered for drama in their disks, because they would have made a killing. They have that epic power-ballad formula down pat, and even made a few improvements. They know how to write a song. Every track exudes emotion. Tons of emotion. All kinds of great, big, PMS, "oh life and creation divine" displays of emotion!

    Maybe too much emotion? (I know, as if that was possible, but here we are).

    The project starts off with a "Halloween-esque" piano intro to "A World I can Feel," ("feel," see?) which piques your interest, softens up, then takes off strong with a twisted-twice over tempo change and Chris Hodges' raspy plea jabbing you in the throat. It's wonderfully done. The song has great dynamic, with all instruments and talents of Tim Gibreath (bass), Ian Medhurst (guitar), Wayne Hoefle (drums, piano, keys), and Hodge's vox, tight, timed, and tuned. It's an engaging listen, as well as "Forever" and "Self-Righteous Parade." Whatever elements they may lack with individual technical abilities, though as I said, they are very competent, they make up for with their extraordinary sense of composition. The polished production is fine, making "Darkness Falls," a good presentation.

    The problem is that this project of thine cuppeth-runeth-over has a bad case of "metal constipation" they don't let it go. There is no burning in the fire. Though there are plenty of waves to surf, it's all candle flame from start to finish, with maybe some kick here and there. No release. Why it matters is because you can hear they've got it in them. You know it in your gut that after singing about "flying away," this band just wants to take off the gloves and thrash out. They could do it, too. But, they rein themselves in and unfortunately, it kills the balance.

    You wait and wait and wait for that big, hard penetration after so much foreplay, but it never happens. Once the pace slows back down to a crawl, after building up to a sprint, the tease becomes disheartening. It's like, "Why did I bother putting this condom in my wallet when all you wanted to give me was a Hallmark card?"

    If you're looking for the sap, "As Darkness Falls" will satisfy. I can assure that one song or two has the ability to inspire with their very pretty, pretty sound. But, for those who want a little pounce with their pretty, you've been warned.

    About this Writer:
    T. Ray Verteramo // T. Ray is a product of New York Mediterranean upbringing, discovering Alice Cooper before puberty, and Iron Maiden after. Taken underwing by the former managing editor of Hit Parader magazine in 1985, she took to freelancing, writing up the local and national circuit for 7 years. A new millennium, a published dystopic thriller, and a CNN article on life in metal in the 80's later, she's been thrown back to the wolves, into a much darker and deeper part of the forest.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

    All reviews for Winter Calling:
    As Darkness FallsWinter Calling
    T. Ray Verteramo7/8/2015

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