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Look To Windward - The Assemble EP CD (album) cover


Look To Windward

Experimental/Post Metal

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Andy Webb
Retired Admin
3 stars A taste of what's to come (or already has).

Look to Windward is a new New Zealand prog metal band that fuses alt rock elements with some really great tech prog metal elements for a zesty new brand of music. The two man band has quickly gone from bedroom-producers to a small, but considerable following. Seeing as they are independent and from New Zealand, an international audience may have seem far fetched, but thanks to a few posts on the ProgArchive forum (or at least that's how I found them), many more people now know of this fantastic band. The Assemble EP is a taster for what has appeared on the latest (and first) studio album, Fortunes Haze. The music is a tasty mix of metal, and I strongly support getting a copy of this EP.

Vad 'skan Sade starts the album 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. A great opener, to say the least.

Assemble, the "title" track, could be seen as a little weaker than the opener, but still has a very strong output. From the start, the song has a throbbing groove metal feel, with djenty guitar riffs and some great screaming vocals. The song even spaces out a little with some more ambient guitar solos and backing tracks. The song then proceeds to breakdown into a mellow melodic section with some cool percussion and spacey guitars. The slightly distorted vocals are little out there, but the backing band does make up for it with some cool extreme metal backings. Overall, this song has many more weak spots that the last track, but still outputs a strong effort.

Danger Eyes is certainly my favorite track on the EP. The opening riff is highly inventive and infectious to listen to. The song really shows the band's creative talent and technical ability. This song has another melodic and mellow/ambient breakdown, with some odd mixings of quiet vocal harmony and randomized clean guitar chords. The song is able to weave in and out of these sections, peppering in a few harder hitting metal sections with some softer sections, making this another exceptional track of a rather exceptional release from this new band.

ALBUM OVERALL: Look to Windward has done a great thing with this EP. Releasing it as a free download on their Bandcamp, they allowed everyone to taste some of the best music off of their debut album. And with this taste, I got hooked. The three tracks featured show the band's intense talent and creativity within a genre that often lacks creativity. The production is highly professional, which is great for a basement recording session. However, the reason I didn't give this a 5 star rating is mainly because all it is is an EP with some tester tracks, and although they are great, they really aren't the most essential thing. If you want good LtW, get the debut album. 3+ stars.

Report this review (#423470)
Posted Sunday, March 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Looking forward

"The Assemble" is an EP from new progressive metal artist, Look to Windward. The three songs on it are from their other 2010 release, "Fortunes Haze". It includes a good progressive metal sound mixed with decent vocals and some growling. It also includes some avant-garde feel in it. The first song "Vad Åskan Sade" starts off with a very avant-garde feel, with sound effects and some good drumming and guitars. The drumming on this EP is very solid, providing a good beat to support the underlying tones of both the acoustic and electric guitars.

The vocals on this album change a lot from one song to the other, even though there are only three songs on the entire EP. The first section of "Vad Åskan Sade" has very light and drifty vocals to it, which go along nicely with the deep guitars. Andrew McCully makes decent use of the keyboards, making long drawn out note values with it. This blends in with the vocals, in that light feel. Then the song drifts into a more metal phase, with much heavier guitars in it. The movement of going from softer metal to much deeper, heavier metal adds to the songs overall feel.

The growling on this album is ok, to say the least. It has a lot of movement to it that is punctuated with deep guitar licks, and powerful drumming. The second song, "Assemble", is mostly all progressive death metal; it's driven mostly by Benjamin Morley's growls, which are much better on this song. This song features almost no keyboards, which I tend to like with my death metal, especially when it is progressive. This song sounds a lot like Death would if they were much more progier.

The production on this album is very clean and much like the rest of today's modern prog bands. Nothing in my mind sets this apart from other EP's or albums that I've listened to in the past, making it an average at best album. The band has lots to look forward to, since both Benjamin Morley and Andrew McCully have good talent and sound. For Look to Windward's good, but promising EP, they get 3 stars.

Report this review (#423603)
Posted Sunday, March 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If you like this EP, then get the studio album!

Look to Windward is an interesting band from New Zealand which has a progressive metal orientation, a two-men act who fortunately (for us, the listeners) offer their music as a pay- what-you-want download, and when this happens, the least we can do is listening to them. This EP is just a taste of their full-length album, both of them released in 2010, and a proof that in the furthest places in the world, we will always find good music.

"The Assemble", which is the title of this EP, consists of three songs that make a total time of 21 minutes. It kicks off with "Vad Askan Sade" starts with a powerful sound, bombastic guitars, drums and keyboards that later slow down a little bit, just when vocals appear. After a minute and a half the structure makes a complete change, so the sound is divided in different episodes in this single track. There are death vocals (which I don't particularly like), but give sorrow and power to the music, which is greatly complemented by fantastic keyboards. It is a very well composed song.

"Assemble" after some seconds of a soft guitar, the music explodes and becomes powerful and with rage inside, the vocals are death ones again. The instrumental passages are by far much better, but well, this is a subjective thing since I don't really like this kind of voices. After three minutes a soft and spacey melody begins, which is my favorite part of the song.

And finally "Danger Eyes", a 9-minute track that easily shows the band's compositional skills. Here I do like the vocals and how the perfectly complement the music. Both members of the band play the main role, they are a perfect couple that cannot be separated, otherwise this project would fail. I like a lot the changes in time and tempo, and the guitar work overall, here you will have moments of tranquilization, and moments of anger.

This is a nice EP, and as I said, if you like this, then you will probably love the full-length album. Though this is not really the type of music I follow, it is evident that the band is talented and with a provocative sound, that will catch the attention of a ton of prog metal lovers. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#504243)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | Review Permalink

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