giovedì 7 aprile 2016

Into Darkness

I might have missed the whole 80s' scene because I was too young, but I'm old enough to have lived through the whole 90s'. They were my formative years and for sure a great period to get into extreme music. While in the last two decades we got nothing but legions of mere clones of the well known names from the glorious days, the 90s' have been the last decade where bands were trying to do something new and innovative just by pushing it to the extreme. Winter were a perfect example of this. Their were around for just three years but they spawned a new sub-genre. While everyone in the rising death metal scene was just trying to play faster than everyone else, Winter chose to follow the opposite path. They indeed decided to play it at the same speed tectonic plates collide with each other to create the most oppressive and gloomy music ever made. This is so dark, heavy and hopeless that could be just the sound of the world collapsing to its final destruction. They melted perfectly Celtic Frost midtempos with Amebix slowness but played it with a death metal sound. Even the artwork gives you a sense of alienation and no hope for the future. Of course at that time dumb metalheads weren't simply ready for something like this. This ain't stuff for slam-dancing! While being almost ignored there, they found their niche in the NY crust/hardcore scene of that time (Nausea, Rorschach ecc) which is not a surprise considering Winter's apocalyptic vision of the future.
I think I first listened to Winter "into darkness" lp around '93 or '94. I have a vivid memory of a picture of Kevin Sharp wearing a Winter shirt (band pics and thanx lists were a huge source of information in the pre-internet era) so, being a broken teenager always hungry for new music, I asked to a friend who had this to tape it to me. I was floored after the first listening. While I was all about grindcore and fast stuff, this had a huge impact on me and my friends. It was just the opposite side of the spectrum, but its sheer brutality was the slow equivalent of the fiercest grindcore band. I'm quite confident I still have that tape (of course with the logo and the title of the album roughly handmade on the j-card) in a box somewhere in my parent's garage. My policy back then was to invest the few money I had on new stuff, no matter how much I loved a record, so I kept listening to it on that tape. As the whole internet thing erupted, I slowly upgraded my whole tape collection to mp3s. Recently I've finally decided that I need a real copy of "into darkness". I scored this first press on Nuclear Blast for relatively cheap on discogs. If you know the pressing infos about this and the clear wax version, please drop a message or a comment. As soon as I saw the Nuclear Blast logo, I wished that I didn't sell my whole death/black metal collection back in 2002...
While the music is obviously metal, this insert explains perfectly why they were more popular among crusties and hardcore kids than metalheads...

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