3079122048-1 Existem

Years of Winter

01. Equals
02. Slay the Giant
03. Corruption, Pt. 1: Balance
04. Corruption, Pt. 2: Ruin
05. Years of Winter
06. Solace
07. Natural State
08. Canyons
09. Ocean
10. She Speaks
11. A Message from Earth

[08/14/12]
[Self-Released]

Existem’s Years of Winter flew way under the radar upon its release in late 2012, where it has slowly been headed toward the surface of notice. Fortunately, the inattention paid to the record isn’t a testament to its quality at all. This review serves the sole goal of informing you that this is a record you should care about by a band you should keep an eye on; they’re going places.

Years of Winter is an atmospherically heavy record that sticks to stomping around in your speakers at slow-to-mid-tempos and evoking feelings and images of its namesake. The kicker is that it doesn’t plod along in your typical sludge/doom-based or melodic death metal way where big chunky riffs provide the atmosphere for melodies, but incorporates the melodious aspects in as part of the crushing weight. Take ‘Natural State’ for example, where the riffs are heavy and the rhythm section flattens you.

There are a few parts of the song where clean tones take charge and add an extra layer of metallic brutality to the mix, and even one soloed clean guitar riff that might as well be off of the Accelerated Evolution album by The Devin Townsend Band. Outside the cleaner parts, the song stays in overdrive with some very Gojira-meets-Opeth sections and the vocals keep up by constantly switching between growls and cleans; variety is the name of the game.

Instrumentation plays a huge part in the overall sound of this record as well, with the abundance of acoustic guitar parts, added touches of pianos and glockenspiels, and even keyboard patches where they fit. Existem doesn’t shy away from a slightly eclectic final product, but they know how to smooth it out and make it work.

Years of Winters not only features great song writing, and instrumentation, but the production is of a particularly high value. The thing that pushes the album right over the edge into something great is that it sounds extremely natural, which creates that really roomy, huge tone that the album has throughout. Even the electronic elements manage to get a very acoustic sound to them, which is a feat in of itself. The rhythm section is what stands out the most in terms of tone, though. If Years of Winter is in fact a cold monolithic beast hell-bent on making you a puddle of a human being, then the rhythm section is the mighty weapon of choice to do the job.

Years of Winter is an astounding, crushing, massive debut by a band who not only seem to know damn well what they want in terms of a sonic signature, but are fully aware how to get it.

Existem – Years of Winter gets…

4.5/5

– GK

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