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Gwynbleidd biography
GWYNBLEIDD is a Progressive Death Metal band formed in Brooklyn, New York in 2002. All four members hail from Poland though, and the Polish roots show in their name, which is derived from the elfish name of the main character in the 'Witcher' books from Polish author Andrzej SAPKOWSKI. Also the concept of the 2009 'Nostalgia' debut album refers to their background, it's a story about yearning and deceit that is set in a scene of childhood memories and a longing for the pristine wilderness of nature.

'Nostalgia' fully developed the band signature sound, blending elements of progressive metal, black metal, death metal and traditional European folk music. The closest comparison would be OPETH's early albums, 'My Arms Your Hearse' especially. 'Nostalgia' is a mature offering showing compositional and instrumental skills where the roughly produced 2006 EP 'Amaranthine' barely hinted at, despite sharing two entire songs with the later album.

Biography by Bonnek

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MRI 2009
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GWYNBLEIDD discography

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3.41 | 4 ratings

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 Nostalgia by GWYNBLEIDD album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.41 | 4 ratings

Gwynbleidd Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by bartosso

4 stars Four Poles filled with nostalgia for their country met in New York and founded Gwynbleidd. Actually, it was the name that attracted my attention to this band. Gwynbleidd is the elvish nickname of the protagonist of Andrzej Sapkowski's books about the Witcher. Some of you possibly heard about the PC game entitled "The Witcher" but I assure you, the book was first. Anyway, I have heard many Opeth followers but this time it's something more than mere imitation. Gwynbleidd, as befits a witcher, has created magical piece of haunting, raw and emotional death metal with enjoyable progressive edge.

As I already said, Gwynbleidd and Opeth have much in common. The songs from NOSTALGIA are relatively long and intricate, lyrics are mostly growled (with some clean vocal parts) and the atmosphere is equally dark and intriguing. Naturally sounding yet clean production, lack of keyboards and special effects, mature melodies and harmonies - all those elements count as merits. I would even venture that - compared to Opeth's early works - Gwynbleidd's debut sounds much nicer and is simply better in many ways. The material is well composed, not so segmented (as, for example, ORCHID) - the music flows naturally and all songs fit together into a harmonious whole. The band draws on well-known ideas but their approach to melody is inventive enough to attract an atmospheric metal fan's attention. Harmonious distortion passages are pervaded with medieval (Slavic and celtic) folk, black metal and subtle progressive spices. Most of all, those guys know how to move the listener deeply with epic passages of harmony and beauty.

Once again I'll heap praise on the drummer. Adam Romanowski's playing is rousing and eclectic - blending classic death metal with some groovy beats. Vocals are admirable as well - emotional, sharp and distinctive growls are as powerful and atmospheric as hell. The clean ones are slightly worse but still enjoyable. Guitars are perfectly composed, creating great harmonies and well flowing riffs. The only thing Gwynbleidd lacks in, is its own, true and original style. It is not an imitation, they have their own vision, but still too many things are borrowed from Opeth to call it a masterpiece.

Nostalgia is a beautiful theme for an album, especially when expressed in such an uncompromising way. Gwynbleidd - bringing to mind an association with early Opeth, Amorphis and Paradise Lost - created consistent, mature and haunting piece of artistic death metal. Even though the music often reminds me of epic "To Bid You Farewell" or "Twilight is My Robe" it is not another Opeth copy. Many bands try to ape their idols, they follow well-trodden paths just to create poor imitations of their masters. It is not the case of Gwynbleidd. These guys have created music based on relatively known idea, but enriched it with distinctive features and put heart and soul into it. I'm bewitched and looking forward to more witchery from New York City.

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 9/10: Nostalgia; New Setting 8/10: Stormcalling; Adrift; Thawing Innocence; Canvas for Departure 7/10: Stare Into the Sun; Egress

-- Originally posted on --

 Nostalgia by GWYNBLEIDD album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.41 | 4 ratings

Gwynbleidd Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Of all the Opeth clones I've heard this year, this album by Gwynbleidd is by far the best. The band has been working on these songs for a long time, already presenting a preview of some of them on the 2006 EP Amaranthine. But compared to that EP, the hours of practice, live performances and fine-tuning has made all rough building blocks fall nicely into place.

As I've mentioned somewhere before, Opeth clones seem to concentrate on one specific Opeth sound and for Gwynbleidd this has clearly been My Arms Your Hearse. 'Nostalgia' is a dark and brutal album, with melodic elements but with few clean vocals, and with a dense claustrophobic sound that perfectly captures the essence of MAYH. But unlike Opeth they don't manage to come up with truly memorable compositions. Instead this whole album is a bit of a blur, sounding like one continuous song with few distinguishable elements, even after multiple listens. Luckily, the multiple listens aren't a burden, as this album is a pleasure to listen to and makes for excellent car-music.

As with most clones, the need for imitation somehow smothers the own creative freedom, and whereas the album is strong throughout, I still miss some defining moments and cool hooks. I hope future releases from this band will explore their proper sound. The talent and the intensity are there, now the identity. 3.5 stars still.

Thanks to bonnek for the artist addition.

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