WINTERLONG – Winterlong

WINTERLONG - Winterlong


Lion Music
Release date: January 24, 2005

Vocals: A
Guitars: B
Bass: B-
Drums: A
Recording Quality: B
Lyrics: B-
Originality: C+
Overall Rating: B-

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Swedish Power Metal band Winterlong are back with their third album, simply entitled Winterlong. The band is probably best known for their founder and guitarist Thorbjorn Englund, who can best be described as a Neo-Classical guitarist, much in the same vein as one Mr. Malmsteen. After hearing this release, though, some of the spotlight should be shifted to the band’s vocalist Mikael Holm and drummer Leif Eriksson. The duo put on quite a shining performance on this album. Even so, this album is proof that putting together four qualified musicians (including the Italian “God of The Keyboards” Mistheria) do not necessarily guarantee a distinct product.

Right from the onset on the opening track “The Priest,” Eriksson’s drumming is totally in your face! He literally beats the hell out of his drum kit throughout this album (the flurry of drumming on the track “Oblivion” needs to be heard to be believed). The recording of this CD is such that the drums seem to be towards the front of the mix, making for a beat-heavy, brutal sound.

Also, the lungs of Holm can be appreciated right from the get-go. Holm delivers vocals that are melodic and crystal clear, yet forceful with an appealing resonance. At times, he will remind you of a somewhat more melodic version of the whole gamut of Rising Force’s past vocalists.

Englund, while accomplished, sounds too much like “someone else” at times. Case in point, the track “Judgement Day,” which sounds like a Rising Force cover tune. Another example is the otherwise excellent guitar-driven instrumental “Bloodshred,” which is ruined by traces and influences of the much overdone Neo-Classical rendition of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Flight of the Bumblebee.”

Keyboards don’t seem to be a driving force in this band’s sound. The music is more Power and less Progressive. In fact, given the “in-your-face” drum production, it’s hard to even discern the keyboards in most of the mix, making Mistheria, for the most part, a non-audible factor.

This release, filled with technically accomplished musicianship, will have you thinking (unfortunately) of Malmsteen and Rising Force … there’s just not enough originality here to distinguish Winterlong. However, if this trait doesn’t/won’t bother you, then by all means pick up this release! While they might not play the most original Power Metal, they certainly deliver the material in fine fashion, and possibly even surpass Rising Force in some areas. At a minimum, you’ll be treated to an impressive display of vocals, drumming, and guitar playing!


Mikael Holm: Vocals
Thorbjorn Englund: Guitars
Peter Uven: Bass Guitars
Leif Eriksson: Drums
Mistheria: Keyboards
Stella Tormanoff: Guest Vocals on “Oblivion”


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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