Winter of Sin – All Life EndsMonday, 7th April 2014
You could forgive Winter of Sin guitarist/founding member Ricardo Gelok for becoming mildly annoyed with insinuations that his outfit is the “Henri Sattler from God Dethroned’s new band.” After all, the Netherlands-based quartet has gone largely unnoticed in America since their 1998 formation, while retaining cult status in mainland Europe. The band’s early efforts were largely the by-product of conflicting tastes and interests trying to meet in the middle, before eventually settling on a focused melodic death/black attack. Therefore, it’s pleasing to see the Dutchman is taking the kind-hearted route, knowing that a marquee name like Sattler is good for business.
“There are probably quite a few people out there who hadn’t heard of Winter of Sin before this album was released,” he begins. “Then again, I wouldn’t really mind. I just hope they like the new album!”
The new album Gelok is referring to is Violence Reigns Supreme, the band’s first for Cyclone Empire, and the follow-up to 2008’s Razernij. The band’s easily falls into the melodic death/black metal niche, but in contrast to the segment of bands who get carried away with extremity and technicality, Winter of Sin’s song-first approach reaps rewards by way of sterling jams like “Eternal Winter” and “Unleash Mayhem,” each of which make the album one of the year’s obvious must-haves. However, the creation of Violence Reigns Supreme wasn’t without its obstacles, which explains the six-year delay in between album releases.
“We went through several line-up changes, which didn’t always work out the way we intended,” says Gelok. “We did have in mind where we wanted to go, but could not quite find the musicians that would enable us to accomplish this. At some point, we decided to put the band on hold, and to ‘transform’ the band into a mere studio project, hoping we would at some point be able to find suitable musicians for that.”
The addition of the aforementioned Sattler, along with ex-God Dethroned drummer Michiel van der Plicht came at the most opportune of times. With GD calling it a day in early 2011 thanks to Sattler’s unwillingness to commit to long bouts of touring, Gelok used his friendship with the two in order to round out Winter of Sin’s lineup.
“We already knew them from the metal scene in the north of The Netherlands. For instance, Michiel and I both played in a local band named Katafalk, although not simultaneously. I also had connections with the both of them. At some point, we asked them if they would be interested in joining forces, and they were. I think it helped that God Dethroned had become inactive at that point.”
As expected, Sattler turned in yet another venomous performance, fitting the band’s like a glove, while giving them the necessary level of conviction. “The songs were there already, and we thought that Henri’s voice would fit really well with the music…which it obviously does We also wrote most of the lyrics, and then let it up to Henri to fill in the vocals. He did an amazing job at that. It was great fun to see how he could bring lyrics that until then had only existed on paper to life, and make them sound like they actually made sense.”
With the new-found attention and strong label backing via Cyclone Empire (“The exposure so far is quite new to us, but we quite enjoy it.”), Gelok can’t help but reminisce on Winter of Sin’s halcyon days, where a simple idea has turned into something serious.
“When we first started out as a band, our main objective was simply to have some fun playing metal music. Recognition is nice in several ways, but was not the initial objective. Also, in the early days, the composition of the band was such that we had a lot of different musical tastes and influences (black metal, doom metal, death metal, grind, and even some more progressive stuff). Gradually, and also as a result of line-up changes, the musical direction and the objectives of the band became more focused. When Henri and Michiel entered the picture, we were finally able to make some serious steps towards accomplishing what we had in mind for quite some time already.”