Published Sep 16, 2015Windhand's latest LP has been hyped up as one of the most important and exciting releases of the year. The Richmond, VA quintet have risen to fame as one of doom's most promising new bands over the past few years, and with that kind of clout behind them, they headed into the studio to record their third record with famed producer Jack Endino of Seattle, famous for his work with bands like Soundgarden and Nirvana. The ultimate question, as with cases like this, remained: Would the record actually live up to the hype?
In the case of Grief's Infernal Flower, it absolutely does. Although the band don't really experiment or break any new ground here, it's just as solid from start to finish as any of the other work they have produced over the years. The first track, "Two Urns," kicks things off at a steady, doomy and spacey pace, and leads fluidly into the rest of the record. The title track, which, although it is still crushingly heavy, almost stands out as a single due to its catchy quality, and "Hyperion," a slow anthem that absolutely embodies the group's scope of sound and their vision provides another high water mark. Throughout the record, vocalist Dorthia Cottrell's haunting voice remains a driving force, and every riff and note comes together to create a magnum opus of a record.
As mentioned, there's nothing particularly new here, which is surprising given that Cottrell recently released a solo album of just vocals and acoustic guitar. Had that no bearing on the sound here? Is there no interest in trying a heavier, more crushing doom sound that pushes the limits of what the group is capable of? Luckily, that the band pretty much stick to their tried and true formula here is more surprising than disappointing — if it isn't broken, as they say, don't fix it.
Die-hard Windhand fans won't be disappointed by Grief's Infernal Flower, and new fans mind find it serves nicely as a jumping off point to get more familiar with the group's material. Either way, it's an excellent addition to a record collection for doom fans everywhere. (Relapse)