Extreme Cold Winter – Paradise Ends Here (Vic Records)

Tuesday, 8th December 2015
Rating: 6/10

Really easy marketing opportunity for Vic Records: “Winter is coming.” Given Game of Thrones’ massive popularity, seemingly anything with the word “winter” in the tagline has a way of working itself back to the show. While we’re unsure if the trio that comprises of Extreme Cold Winter have much of an affinity for the show, their name is about as blunt as they come. Their music, however, meanders around the all-too simplistic world of stoic death/doom, giving their Paradise Ends Here debut little, if any identity.

Featuring members of Severe Torture, Officium Triste, and The 11th Hour, Extreme Cold Winter presents itself as a sort of a “fun” downtime project when its members aren’t hunkering down with their main bands. The purpose – as so stated above – is to replicate the vintage, lauded sounds of early 90s death with doom influences. And that’s where the struggle begins. The riffs are hardly imaginative, played with little urgency or reverence for the sound they are to be creating. Opener “Warriors of the Wasteland” is proof positive of this, as boring-time power chords crash about with nowhere to go. Vocalist Pim Blankenstein (he of Officium Triste and The 11th Hour fame) supplies a hearty, abyss-plunging growl (obviously, a total prerequisite for something like this), but not even his unearthly bellows can rescue compositions that at best, are half-baked.

And that’s how Paradise Ends Here feels – half-baked, done halfway, etc. etc. Break-off groups like this sometimes display more energy and fervor than the members’ original acts, but Extreme Cold Winter played Paradise Ends Here with the intensity of a Saturday afternoon practice after downing a big lunch. We all know how that feels.

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