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LOOK TO WINDWARD

Experimental/Post Metal • New Zealand


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Look To Windward biography
LOOK TO WINDWARD is a studio recording collaboration born in Auckland, New Zealand that started as an experiment and grew into a layered and constantly evolving album project. The influence of musicians, film makers and writers has pushed the sound in countless directions, beginning with a solid hard-hitting base built upon with layers of ambience, rich vocal harmonies, vintage keyboards and the classical instrumentation of piano and strings. The belief in the album as an art form has driven the creation of "Fortunes Haze", an almost 2 year endeavor for Andrew MCCULLY and Benjamin MORLEY.

Started during Andrew's last year at art school the album continues the sound of his previous work in the band MICROFICTION with the injection of Benjamin's strong metal sensibilities. Entirely self-produced from recording through to artwork and mastering, including guest appearances by local musicians, "Fortunes Haze" is a culmination of the pair's combined passion for the music that has inspired them.

Biography provided by Look To Windward.

Look To Windward official website

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LOOK TO WINDWARD discography


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4.20 | 8 ratings
Fortunes Haze
2010

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LOOK TO WINDWARD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.02 | 5 ratings
The Assemble EP
2010

LOOK TO WINDWARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Assemble EP by LOOK TO WINDWARD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
3.02 | 5 ratings

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The Assemble EP
Look To Windward Experimental/Post Metal

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator 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!

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 Fortunes Haze by LOOK TO WINDWARD album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.20 | 8 ratings

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Fortunes Haze
Look To Windward Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Any Colour You Like
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Given that the progressive music scene in New Zealand is entirely underground, saying that any new artists have a tough time of breaking through into any kind of exposure is an understatement. This doesn't even come close to the reality for many artists, yet it doesn't put off many hardy souls from trying. And try Look To Windward have. Formed by Ben Morley and Andrew McCully, this Auckland based project present the new face of the Kiwi experimental metal scene. It's refreshing to say the least.

Anyway, without anymore posturing, Look To Windward's debut album 'Fortunes Haze' took me by utter surprise. To fully understand the impact this album had upon me, one must consider that this album was entirely self recorded (at home), produced and released. The quality of the production is as good as many professional cuts, and if anything, it seems uncluttered by the pretensions and over-produced cliches found in the genre. The album begins with 'Danger Eyes', a piece that fuses charging prog metal and symphonic flourishes. The vocals are very well done, placed well within the compositions for maximum emotive effect. Following is the two part titular epic, which evolves from fairly standard prog/death metal into more a more expressive and unclassifiable mash of music. The dynamic range of the band is refreshing, ambient breaks provide Fripp-like soundscapes before more deluges of warped time signature metal. 'Control' is a more restrained acoustic piece, again highlighting a compositional diversity, although I must admit that this isn't my favourite track as I found it a touch sterile. 'Zero Parallax' is an interesting but short dark ambient movement acting much like a split between the halves of the album. 'Behind Red Curtains' follows a similar method to many of the other compositions here, but containing some seriously groovy and heavy rhythmic changes. 'Vad ┼skan Sade' is probably the highlight of the album, fusing neo-classical rock elements with prog metal, something not uncommon to the genre. However, the track doesn't feel artificial nor 'cheesy', the result is an emotive journey that echoes both classic artists and hints at a brave new path. The final two tracks are both epics in the sense that they stretch beyond 10 minutes, but also traverse a multitude of soundscapes. 'Deception' takes a while to get going, but there are some wonderful piano driven moments here, sure to make any prog metal fan appreciate the compositional foresight shown. The closing piece 'Forest is Moving', provides a final and excellent summation of the album entire, highlighting subtle (and not so subtle) changes in timbre, dynamics and tone. The forest is indeed moving, but this is one forest where I'd like to stay.

In a more objective analysis, 'Fortunes Haze' does have some flaws - nothing terminal, but nonetheless things to ponder. I'm not entirely convinced about the growled vocals, that while sparse, don't really match the emotive effect of the cleaner vocals. It is also worth noting that this is a long album, perhaps too long. And while this isn't a bad thing, perhaps as Look To Windward progresses along their path, the value of being succinct may become more apparent. At times it feels a little wayward and aimless, which is generally why the album tends to shine during the more dynamic sections. Nonetheless, I must applaud 'Fortunes Haze' for the ambition it shows, the poise and skill it highlights, but also for proving to myself that New Zealand's music scene isn't terminally deceased just yet.

Recommended to fans of DREAM THEATER, RIVERSIDE, OPETH, PoS, motW and PORCUPINE TREE.

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 Fortunes Haze by LOOK TO WINDWARD album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.20 | 8 ratings

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Fortunes Haze
Look To Windward Experimental/Post Metal

Review by loggerhead

5 stars My Favourite album of 2010. Beautiful amalgamation of metal, death metal, ambient, avant- garde, a hint of electronic and other styles coated with highly skilled musicianship and great production.

When I first started listening to the album I was a bit concerned by the first vocals I heard, which aren't bad but I didn't want to sit through 1.2 hours of them. But thank god the album shows a great array of vocal styles which are a real highlight.

The album oscillates in intensity throughout, with tension building ambient sections being followed by rhythmic distorted metal.

And what really puts the icing on the cake is that these boys are from New Zealand (like myself (so maybe there is a bit of bias in this review)). But the reason this is impressive is that NZ doesn't really have a prog scene. In fact the only other two bands I can think of are Split Enz and Jakob.

This album is truly worth 5 stars. It is a masterpiece.

Instead of me righting a summery of each song how about you go straight to band camp and download the album for free. And if you like it (and I'm sure you will) you can go back and pay however much you think it is worth.

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 Fortunes Haze by LOOK TO WINDWARD album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.20 | 8 ratings

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Fortunes Haze
Look To Windward Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Admin / Heavy Prog Team / Math Rock Team

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 ┼skan Sade is another one of my favorites off the album. Quoted from my review of the band's EP: "Vad ┼skan 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.

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 The Assemble EP by LOOK TO WINDWARD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
3.02 | 5 ratings

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The Assemble EP
Look To Windward Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Block

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 ┼skan 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 ┼skan 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.

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 The Assemble EP by LOOK TO WINDWARD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
3.02 | 5 ratings

BUY
The Assemble EP
Look To Windward Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Admin / Heavy Prog Team / Math Rock Team

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.

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