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White Willow - Storm Season CD (album) cover


White Willow


Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 182 ratings

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4 stars A very dark album, just like the cover indicates.

White Willow has come a long way from their folksy, mellow debut album. While I wouldn't exactly call this album heavy, it certainly is heavier than their previous efforts. When I saw this band perform at Nearfest back in 2001, they came across as a very skilled retro prog band. Not really sounding like any particular 70's prog band, but using the more organic sounds of those days. With this album, it seems they were making a conscious attempt to come into the 21st century, incorporating loops and beats more associated with modern music than with retro. For my taste, it works quite well.

The vocals are, as always, sublime. This would be Sylvia Erichsen's final White Willow album, and unlike the revolving door of other band positions (with the exception of band leader, guitarist Holm-Lupo), she appeared on every album except the debut. But here, she makes an impressive farewell performance, softening the edges of this heavier, darker and more modern sounding Willow. Still, the classic keyboard sounds have not disappeared, as newcomer Frøislie brings his Hammonds, Mellotrons, and mini moogs to bear in fine fashion. I suspect some of the heaviness on this album is due to the fact that for the first (and only) time White Willow have two guitarists; Johannes Saebøe gives the bass over to newcomer Marthe Berger Walthinsen and picks up the guitar. This is most noticeable in songs like Soulburn (where Black Sabbath is evoked at times) and the opening track, Chemical Sunset.

This album took some time for me to appreciate, as I was used to and enjoyed the former lighter retro prog version of the this band. Don't get me wrong, this is not anywhere near prog metal, but it is most definitely a darker and heavier band with more modern elements thrown in. But the time was well worth it, and I consider this one of their best albums to date, if not actually the best. While they take a while to come out with new albums, the time seems well spent as each one is different from the last while still maintaining the identity of the band, still seeming like a natural progression from the last album. This is no exception. Just be prepared for a darker, heavier, and more updated White Willow (have I used those three words enough to get the point across yet? :-)

A solid 4 star album and not a bad place to start for the newcomer to this band. For fans of the earlier albums, approach with caution as this is a fairly different approach. But give it time, and it will reveal its delights to you (and the angelic vocals are there as a kind of lifeline to the previous albums).

infandous | 4/5 |


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