Like the elemental landscape of a winter setting, the progressive rock group from Florida, Winter Calling’s sound embodies the wintry themes that lies in the band’s name. Comprised of Chris Hodges (vocals), Ian Medhurst (guitar), Tim Gilbreath (bass) and Wayne Hoefle (drums, piano and keys), the atmospheric metal rock sound filling each and every track on the band’s latest album, FACES, often correlate from a soft to harsh element. This greatly contrasts with the screaming that front man Hodges emits in a full throttle guttery roar at chosen intervals within the album. The ambiance aspect of the tracks acts as a foil to the undulating screaming.
In the album’s first track, titled, “Disorder,” we, as listeners are struck by the solemnity of the moment as the song opens up with a choral vocal background and violin strings that produces an unrelenting and powerful quality. The chorus overall provides for a serious tone to the piece. The guitars are a huge factor in the sound, which only adds strength to the over-arching momentum. The melodic guitars show that there is structure in the disorder (relating into the title of the song) as a fearless and unrelenting rock and metal music soars with passion and surpasses all prior misconceived impressions the band had on them.
“Not Like You” is a dynamic track. This epic rendition will really excite and invigorate listeners. The track touches upon a powerful sound as Hodges really utilizes his vocals here. Running through listeners’ brains might be images of the far-reaches of the fantastical as audiences will be reacting to these head-banging inducing tracks. This song shows that Winter Calling is a forward moving band, up for phenomenal things.
In “The Tower”, Hodges sings with an enthused fervor after a marching beat. The drums frantically captures the cycling of someone under psychological duress or un-duress. The band’s signature sound of powerhouse metal and progressive rock music revs in control some strong reverberations. The reverb will hit listeners as the violence in which the vocalist spews out the lyrics surfaces. Overall, this track had a fulfilling sound as this song touches base with everything.
“Truth From A Lie” has a magnifying, giant sound that is meant to be played at full blast on the speakers. The track starts off on a gradual beat that slowly builds up momentum, but the driving sound has to the guitars, which are the magnet and oftentimes sound more melodic. The robust vibe and the tunes really comes alive for the duration of the song.
“Still Hold On” starts out with some drumming, keeping time to the churning of guitars and bass that later comes on with the vocals. The oftentimes tumultuous energy provides for a chaotic atmosphere that listeners who are attuned to this will be struck by the semblance of balance experienced. The wild treading moment will be later filled by the sounds of a storm brewing over what seems to be darkened skies. As this scene runs by, the moving sounds of an acoustic guitar playing could be heard towards the end of the song.
In the track, “A New Me A Few Me,” listeners will be lit by the whispering connotations that can come across as hisses. The seething and angry sound manifests itself into a tempest as this greatly magnifies the grandeur and magnificence of the track as it is fused by the chanting, whispery vocals.
The last two songs to the album are ballads. “A Different Tune” starts out with a piano tune and provides a broad scope to the band’s visionary sound, while the last track, “My Own Way” channels a more symphony feel as some lush strings are provided in the song. The latter track is rather lengthy (around 8 minutes long) and with some choral effects with a hushed sensibility that recedes and enters the track again. Again, the signs of a storm is brewing with, finally, the sounds of rain releasing towards the end of the song.
Winter Calling’s FACES is for the weary traveler, sick of the same scene who will sink into this freshly brandished soundscape. Faces is an album of newly brewed identities, following a rock sensibility that all listeners will relish in. 7.7./10