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Look To Windward - Fortunes Haze CD (album) cover

FORTUNES HAZE

Look To Windward

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.12 | 12 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars The fortunes haze...for a stunning debut

Look to Windward is a new progressive metal band founded in New Zealand. The Kiwi act is a project of Andrew McCully and Benjamin Morley, and they certainly seem to know what they're doing. The "bedroom producers," as artists of their kind are called, have written and recorded a spectacular and extremely professional album. "Fortunes Haze" is their debut, and is full of some of the most innovative music I've heard in a while. The progressive metal genre today is an overcrowded and often uncreative place, full of wannabes and copy bands. Look to Windward is able to rise above this trend with an extremely unique vision and a musical direction that is sure to go extremely far.

The album kicks of with the killer track Danger Eyes. Even the first few seconds of the album show the great creativity these guys have. No traditional riffing or virtuoso soloing all over the place, these guys pull out a great riff that is bombastic and in your face the whole way through. The use of melody is spot on, perfectly complimenting the (tastefully) harsh guitar work. The rhythms are dead on, polyrhythmic, and inventive. The instrumental section is subtle and quiet, showing that this band has no trouble in slowing down and dishing out something more sincere and mellow. Overall, this is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album, and for good reasons.

The three part 16 part epic title track starts out with the death inspired part one, Assemble. With a throbbing groove metal feel, the song is easily one of the heaviest tracks on the album. Dishing out more of the spot on polyrhythmic mastery, with bombastic and throbbing drum beats and rhythm guitar backing. The screaming vocals suit the music perfectly, complimenting each note with a great dynamic. The clean vocals are slightly distorted, making for another nice dynamic. Although this track is not the strongest on the album, it is still a great song.

Parts 2 and 3 of Fortunes Haze are Exodus/Return, combined into one track. The song is much slower and opens with a voice. The music slowly crescendos, into a distorted ambient soundscape with rumbling guitars and quiet atmospheric soundscapes. Most of "Exodus" is very quiet, with the mellow piano interludes slowly building to a crashing and sweeping metal piece, most likely the transition to "Return." The majority of the song is a great mellow mix, fusing together the inventive prog metal from the rest of the album with some great ambient, mellow, and melodic interludes and calm sections. Overall, this is one killer track, just hitting 11 minutes, and full of some really fantastic stuff.

Control opens with another mellow intro, starting with some dissonant acoustic, piano, vocal, and string dynamics. Most of the song is an atmospheric trip, mixing even some electronic feels into the music. It takes a good 4 minutes for the great acoustic and electronic soundscapes to transition into a harder hitting alternative metal masterpiece, fusing alt metal with some really cool prog metal elements, with more electronic twists and polyrhythmic and off beat rhythms that really fit the music. Overall, Control offers yet another fantastic track for this album.

Zero Parallax is a two minute ambient track, with little but some interesting soundscapes to its name. Its main purpose is to set up an interesting transition between the first half and second half of the album.

Behind Red Curtains starts out slow, very slow, with some doomy riffing and steady atmospheres. Soon the song breaks into a hard hitting sludge metal track, with some slow and steady sludge riffs and some heavy rhythms behind it. A mellow mellotron interlude breaks the sludge, with some nice flute and string effects. The rest of the track continues that sludgey feel, ending the song with a more mellow but still heavily doom/sludge influenced. Overall another good song.

Vad Åskan Sade is another one of my favorites off the album. Quoted from my review of the band's EP: "Vad Åskan Sade starts...off with a jazzy twist, throwing in some brass with some cool jazzy guitars. The song then flows into a symphonic grace period, mixing some zesty metal with orchestral beauty. Somehow, the band is able to fuse some cheesy keyboard voices with intense and heavy guitar work to make a really epic piece of music. The whole track contains countless ideas melded together in absolute grace and lucidity."

Deception starts slow again, with some mellow piano/acoustic guitar harmonizations. The 10 minute long song encompasses more ambient soundscapes, mixing some great vocal melodies with spacey backgrounds before breaking into the heavier riffing. The heavier sections start out slow to, with some cool creative rhythms backing it, and soon breaking into some really great arpeggio sweeping. The instrumental section has the strongest standard prog metal influence, but still has some really great twists to go along with it. The adventurous sound of Haken comes to mind on this song too, fusing the great jazzy and spacey elements of their adventurous sound. It ends with similar to how it began, with a nice ambient piano outro. Overall, being 10 minutes long, the band was able to pack in quite a bit of great stuff, and they had no trouble making it worth the listener's while.

Forest is Moving, the 12 minute closer piece, opens for the first time in a while with a pretty steady throbbing prog metal riff session. Combing this time some really great post-metal feels, the song builds slowly after the first riffing piece to a great experimental metal section. Even entering into mathcore-ish rhythms at times, the song never stops surprising me. Multiple ambient interludes throw you off guard, until the last couple minutes where the song keeps a steady metal fist of fury and charges into oblivion. The first real vocals come almost 10 minutes in, with avant-garde fury, also. Switching from death growls to soprano squealing, the song almost never stops. The album slowly fades out, as the song slows to a bearable pace, and this fantastic debut is done. Overall, Forest is Moving is another of my favorites on the album, with a supernumerary amount of dynamic elements and surprises musically. It ends the album in a spectacular fashion, summing up most of the musical vision that this band takes. Through all 12 minutes of mastery, it never gets old.

ALBUM OVERALL: What a spectacular debut. All the way from New Zealand, Look to Windward has delivered a sucker punch of some of the best prog metal I've heard in 2010. Mixing subtle post-metal influences with bombastic prog metal mastery, the band is able to flesh out some really creative stuff. With the perfect amount of polyrhythmic drumming and off beat guitar accents, each song has some really cool elements. And on top of all this, it was released on my birthday! 4 stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |

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