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White Willow - Storm Season CD (album) cover

STORM SEASON

White Willow

 

Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 173 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After a 4+ year hiatus, the outstanding Norwegian ensemble White Willow returns to the musical scene with yet another prog jewel from Scandinavia: IMHO, "Storm Season" is WW's best effort, so far. It's also their most somber and aggressive recording, full of emotional darkness, which at times gives way to an undertone of self-restrained anger, barely hiding its intrinsic intensity - clearly this is a storm season that we are being faced to, a storm of exciting chiaroscuro. Since now there are two guitarists in the fold, the guitar riffs and harmonies feel "heavier" than ever before, and to make things even more dense, Frĝislie's labour on keyboard textures, mellotron orchestrations and synth solos shines like a wicked diamond amidst this forest of psychological oppression. Meanwhile, the rhythm section works in a well oiled and tight manner, and Sylvia Erichsen's singing at times reaches new levels of passionate fire. The opening track 'Chemical Sunset' starts with an evocative brief flute solo (pretty much a-la Grieg) that soon gives way to the full explosion of the whole ensemble; 'Sally Left' is a bit sadder than its predecessor, as if it were designed to grab the listener's worst fears and rub it in their face. Fortunately, some kind of relief can be found in the tender, bucolic 'Endless Science', whose lyrical beauty allows the listener to concentrate on the meditative and momentarily forget about the somber. But the somber comes back afterwards, only to stay until the album is finally ended. Tracks 4-7 comprise the best and most representative part of this storm season's repertoire. 'Soulburn' takes off from where the first two tracks had grown their roots, only with an added touch of splendour. That same splendour is magnificently increased via the clever use of captivating orchestrations and impressive mood shifts in 'Insomnia' and 'Nightside of Eden', the most notoriously pompous numbers in the album, and may I add, my two personal favorites. Before 'Nightside.' closes down the album majestically, there is the title track: 'Storm Season' is an inscrutable piece sustained upon an almost- martial rhythm path, something like a procession of spirits in a winter night forest, while Erichsen sings her lines in an exorcising manner. This is definitely one of the most prominent prog albums of 2004, so it deserves the maximum rating.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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