LETHVM // WINTERREISE - SMOKEY MILKY W/ BLACK BLOB & RUSTY RED SPLATTER
RELEASE DATE:April 7, 2023
Winterreise by Lethvm on 180g Smokey Milky w/ Black Blob & Rusty Red Splatter colored vinyl.
Comes in a 12" sleeve with lyrics sheet included. Limited to 300 copies worldwide.
The legacy of classic composers on metal music is no mystery. From the devilish haunting intro of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor to the virtuoso preciosities of Vivaldi and Paganini’s joyful compositions, the voices of the old masters still echo loudly centuries later. Letvhm are the last of a long list of metal bands to draw inspiration from classical music, but what sets the band’s third record Winterreise, apart, is the perfect adherence to the subject matter at the source of its inspiration. Thematically inspired by the eponymous set of poems written by Wilhelm Müller and masterfully set to music by Schubert, Winterreise is a raw and deeply moving exploration of pain, sorrow and their resulting emotional scars. Winterreise’s pool of influences doesn’t stop at classical music however. One quick listen to “Pretence” reveals a clear nod to Junius (think “Forgiving the Cleansing Meteor”), a furtive glance at “Carved” uncovers a crescendo and climax of “Amenra-esque” proportions. While these influences are obvious, nothing feels like an uninspired reference but rather an homage, a tribute, and a decisively personal take on a timeless sonic construction. In anything, Winterreise really tries to steer away from trite formulaic compositions and accomplishes so convincingly by expanding towards diverse and unexplored territories.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Tim De Gieter (Amenra, Brutus, Doodseskater), Winterreise is a heavyweight champion in the dunk! catalogue and a ko-at-first-round heavy-hitter of an album. Tim’s work on this album is clearly evident from the first sorrowful notes of “Blank”, with their distinctive “sound” that’s become the herald of the renowned Belgian post and sludge metal scene. The first minutes of the gigantic opener are testimony to Lethvm’s aptitude at blending rage and atmosphere, mixing aggression with melody, all things Winterreise is completely drenched in. After its ferocious incipit, the album continues down its path of total auditory annihilation with a steady and slow march, gifting listeners of true gems like “Carved”, a highly atmospheric yet dynamic track with a killer end chorus, and “Mournful”, a monolithic post-doom slow burner featuring female vocals and an excruciating finale of superb emotional impact. Closer “Night” concludes this fiery display by serving another highlight. This time via a more romantic catharsis (think Rosetta, Mihai Edrisch, or Amia Venera Landscape), yet still with a bellowing rage that’s virtually unmatched in the genre.
Tones are dark, tempos slowed-down and syncopated, themes bleak and heavy, however there’s much more here than an uncompromising taste in destruction. From the first spin, Winterreise reveals a surprisingly emotional vulnerability, focused on personal struggles and topics dear to the band, like melancholia, loneliness and anger, and a honesty that’s disarming and fully convincing. The highly introspective character of this record makes it a highly relatable and enjoyable listen. Despite its unrelenting advance, Winterreise flows fluidly, captivating rather than smashing, the listener’s ears. Winterreise is a focused and carefully crafted record, where even the finest detail delivers an emotional blow. It shows a band, now fully comfortable with their craft, working with a monochromatic sound palette but experimenting with a multitude of shades and hues, enriching their formula with precious details. These nuances make Winterreise a continuously engaging and refreshing listen; a true journey worth repeating endless times. This record is massive, it is heavy and unforgiving, but highly immersive and ultimately, addictive. Meant to be played loud, Winterreise is only the latest addition to dunk!’s heavy catalogue and Lethvm’s lethal discography, but certainly already a standout and highlight in both the label’s and band’s repertoires.