By Laura Mountford
Originating from Manchester, this 5 piece melodic metal band have been rising stars since 2007 and released their well-received EP entitled 'Hear Me' in 2009. Three years later and Gone Til Winter have now released their follow up, an 8 track album of both heavy and soft, gothic style melodies with a couple of acoustic tracks thrown in for good measure.
With a sound that seems quite heavily influenced by bands like Lacuna Coil, Evanescence andNightwish, The First Season kicks off with 'Solemnise'. A dramatic opening of heavy guitar and drums with haunting keys in the background as vocalist Talena Winter shows off her powerful, haunting vocals.
'Heat Signal' follows with a fantastic almost oppressive opening by drummer Ollie Peyton, and highlights bassist Shirezy's skills, as he lays down a solid groovy bass line. Guitarist Jonathan Gruzelier’s guitar riffs are cutting and concise, lending harshness to proceedings. This is very Lacuna Coil-esque. Next comes 'Utopia', another powerful ballad track. Utopia is my least favourite track on the album, mostly due to its overly repetitive nature and the drawn out chorus.
Keyboardist Rosie Smith comes into her own during the third and fifth tracks. Third song 'Kill Me'opens with melodic keyboards which sound almost lullaby like, and serves as a general showcase for Rosie’s talents. The gentleness of the song is melted away by a heavy chorus with Talena's soaring vocals and driven by great roaring guitar riffs. 'Deep Sleep' is another very melodic song, and features dual vocals, and a catchy chorus that doesn't sound too unlike something Evanescence would write. The song ends with some graceful notes on the keyboards.
Sixth track 'Distant Places' is relatively progressive and sounds slightly medieval with its opening acoustic guitar and is a relaxing, haunting ballad with some ghostly echoing guitar notes in the background and a sound that's almost like waves crashing on the shore.
A double dose of softer acoustic tracks helps to bring The First Season to a melancholic end; the first of which is 'Release’. The song is the first purely acoustic track on the album and showcases some very deep vocals by Talena, though they fall slightly flat from time to time. 'Constant Retreat', is the second acoustic track, (and my personal favourite), and rounds off the album perfectly. The dual acoustic guitars are the highlight here, starting off slowly and understated, building to nicely pick up the pace. ‘Constant Retreat’ is a very sorrowful and moving track, with beautiful lyrics and soft vocals on the chorus.
It’s always great when a band is able to effortlessly produce an album like this, mixing together heavy power ballads and soft graceful lullabies. One can easily see how the band have grown and matured over the years, which has resulted in a well-deserved slot at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air Festival. I for one look forward to hearing more from this band.
Devil Horns Rating (out of Five): \m/\m/\m/\n