Winter’s End – Lost in the Light (Self-Released)

Tuesday, 26th January 2016
Rating: 8.5/10

Another youthful quintet arising with musical school ties – Boston based symphonic metal act Winter’s End contains a classically trained Berklee graduate in vocalist Jessica Frost, and with a robust soprano range projects her abilities throughout this debut 5 song EP Lost in the Light. Given the many shades of heaviness, bombast, and theatricality available due to the versatility of the genre at hand, it’s not surprising to see more North American musicians gravitating to the creative ideas that put European bands like Epica, Nightwish, and Within Temptation on larger headlining tours. The question is: where does Winter’s End stand this early in their career?

After multiple playbacks, these songs have a definite energetic charge and tension release that flows seamlessly song to song – the drama switching sometimes in the male/female vocal play offs for “Loathe”, or through Ryan Johnson’s keyboard parts plus orchestration choices on their name sake “Winter’s End”. Guitarist Zachary Bergeron flashes fluid lead work that enhances the riffing and melodies at hand – while bassist Devin Fauteux and drummer Aris Mavrides hold down their bottom end responsibilities solidly.

Jessica brings Winter’s End to the upper echelon of the symphonic metal genre – possessing amazing breath control and ease of ascending and descending in her soprano operatic comfort zone. Check out “Equinox” (the trailing notes before the solo especially) and you’ll know why she will get a lot of attention as comparisons to Liv Kristine (Leaves’ Eyes) and Tarja (ex-Nightwish) may crop up – yet I feel Jessica has a better understanding of phrasing and clarity that could gain the band a wider following. Add in a lyrical scope that ranges from theology in “Elysium” to personal triumph through the changing seasons on the aforementioned “Winter’s End” and it’s a fantastic start for this new band.

Keeping the arrangements in tight 4-5 minute windows, Lost in the Light has a heavier sheen than the commercial side of the genre, but isn’t too extreme to scare off the fence-sitters. Add Winter’s End to an already impressive New England roster in the symphonic metal scene (Anaria, Seven Spires), and looking forward to watching the growth of this act.

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