Album Review – Vintersea / Woven Into Ashes (2023)

This Extreme Progressive Metal act from Portland, Oregon is back with their fantastic third full-length opus, once again inspired by the majesty of the Pacific Northwest.

Combining the essential parts of many genres into a melodic brand of metal that is undeniably inspired by the majesty of the Pacific Northwest, Portland, Oregon-based Extreme Progressive Metal act Vintersea is back with their third full-length effort, entitled Woven Into Ashes, the follow-up to their 2019 critically acclaimed album Illuminated. Engineered by Gabe Johnston at Falcon Recording Studio, mixed by Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland at Atrium Audio, mastered by Troy Glessner at Spectre Studios, and displaying a stylish artwork by Xenoyr (of Ne Obliviscaris), the album once again offers our avid ears the heavy, emotionally powerful and technically intriguing creations by frontwoman Avienne Low, guitarists Jorma Spaziano and Riley Nix, bassist Karl Whinnery and drummer Jeremy Spencer, representing a significant step forward in the band’s already solid career.

Vintersea have definitely learned how to master the art of progressive and experimental sounds, and that’s already crystal clear from the very first second in Unveiling Light, with Jorma and Riley delivering sheer intricacy and groove from their guitars, therefore exploding into a vibrant Melodic Black Metal aria, whereas Jeremy hammers his drums in the name of extreme music in Devil’s Churn, providing Avienne with exactly what she needs to deliver her deep, enraged she-wolf screams, sounding even more progressive than the opening tune due to its Groove Metal elements. Then get ready for eight minutes of ethereal passages, endless heaviness and obscurity, and a humongous dosage of intricacy in Crescent Eclipse, with Avienne again stealing the spotlight with her mesmerizing clean vocals and her infernal roars; and a demonic growl by Avienne kicks off the thunderous At The Gloaming Void, with Karl’s bass and Jeremy’s beats making the earth tremble, or in other words, it’s Progressive Death and Black Metal at its finest.

As if the band decided to begin a new chapter in the “book” of Woven Into Ashes, they invest in a much more cadenced, melodic sound in Parallel Duality, and the song also seems to be split in two parts depending on the vocal style used by Avienne. Lonesome Tide is another song with a more delicate start, quickly morphing into another Progressive Black Metal onrush by the band with Jorma and Riley doing an amazing job with both their caustic riffs and gentle acoustic guitars; and it’s then time for a dark ballad titled Into the Horizon, a solid creation by the band albeit not as vibrant or multi-layered as the rest of the album. Avienne has a charming performance on vocals as usual, though. Finally, the band brings forth a nine minute feast of delicate sounds, progressiveness and melancholy titled No Tomorrow, with Jeremy dictating the song’s pace while Avienne roars to the piercing riffs by the band’s guitar duo, ending the album on a very climatic mode.

The talented Avienne and her unstoppable henchmen are waiting for your feedback about their stunning creations on Facebook and on Instagram, and don’t forget to also subscribe to their YouTube channel and to stream more of their classy compositions on Spotify. The versatile and dynamic Woven Into Ashes, which is available for purchase from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the M-Theory Audio webstore as a digipack CD or as a colored vinyl (or click HERE for all things related to the band and the album), will undoubtedly help Vintersea reach new heights in their awesome career, as it’s not only their strongest effort to date, but also a must-listen for any fans of the fusion of progressiveness and sheer heaviness. Furthermore, the band is just about to embark on a sensational tour with Eleine, Oceans of Slumber and the almighty Moonspell, and I’m beyond certain they’ll play songs from their new album. Having said that, what are you waiting for to grab your tickets for such amazing event in your city?

Best moments of the album: Devil’s Churn, At The Gloaming Void and Lonesome Tide.

Worst moments of the album: Into the Horizon.

Released in 2023 M-Theory Audio

Track listing
1. Unveiling Light 5:22
2. Devil’s Churn 6:09
3. Crescent Eclipse 7:43
4. At The Gloaming Void 5:31
5. Parallel Duality 7:12
6. Lonesome Tide 6:04
7. Into the Horizon 3:51
8. No Tomorrow 8:49

Band members
Avienne Low – vocals
Jorma Spaziano – guitars
Riley Nix – guitars, backing vocals
Karl Whinnery – bass
Jeremy Spencer – drums

Album Review – Lindsay Schoolcraft / Martyr (2019)

Renowned Canadian keyboardist and vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft will take you on a very entertaining journey through the realms of Gothic Rock and Metal in her debut solo album.

An accomplished singer, songwriter, harpist, and pianist in her own right, Canadian keyboardist and vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft (Cradle of Filth, Antiqva, The Astroplex, Daedalean Complex) is about to release her debut solo album entitled Martyr, a very entertaining feast of Gothic Rock and Metal recommended for admirers of the dark music played by bands like Evanescence and Nightwish, while  Cradle of Filth enthusiasts will certainly enjoy hearing this darkly romantic side of Schoolcraft’s music. Hailing from Oshawa, a city on the Lake Ontario shoreline, Lindsay is not only deeply proud of her Canadian roots, but she’s also a declared fan and a connoisseur of all things rock and metal, making us at The Headbanging Moose really proud of her development and growth as a musician, and with Martyr being the perfect depiction of all her dedication and passion for heavy music.

Produced, engineered, and mixed by Tyler Williams of Monolithic Productions, mastered by Lasse Lammert, and featuring a classy cover artwork by Anastasia Solti and logo by Lindsey Márton, Martyr is Lindsay’s personal tribute to rock and metal, channeling her years of experience as a musician and as a human being into ten original composition written by Lindsay herself together with American multi-instrumentalist Rocky Gray (Living Sacrifice, Evanescence, We Are the Fallen, Soul Embraced, Machina), who’s also responsible for all guitars, bass and drums in the album. Not only that, Martyr also brings an array of very special guests, including Xenoyr, vocalist for Australian Extreme Progressive Metal band Ne Obliviscaris, and who also plays with Lindsay in her Black Metal project Antiqva, adding an extra touch of darkness to Lindsay and Rocky’s goth-rock extravaganza.

Somber piano notes and a modernized vibe set the tone in Saviour, with Rocky slashing his strings before Lindsay comes ripping with her Amy Lee-inspired vocals in a top-notch Gothic Rock and Metal exhibit by our beloved Canadian musician, and a delicious feeling keeps permeating the air in Dangerous Game, where Lindsay not only does a great job on vocals, but her trademark keys also bring a nice touch to the music. Moreover, Rocky and his low-tuned bass punches sound as thunderous as they can be, adding the word “Gothic” to the final result. Stranger is even more delicate than its predecessors, but still presenting the electricity of Gothic Rock, and you can sense elements from bands like Evanescence, The Cure and Depeche Mode in the music; and her smooth piano notes keep dictating the rhythm in Into The Night, where it’s impressive how Lindsay can sound so gentle and dark at the same time (maybe a “side effect” of her years with Cradle of Filth), offering us all a ballad perfect for enjoying together with your loved one.

Can we call Blood From A Stone a Gothic, darker version of Enya, mainly due to the gorgeous way Lindsay declaims the song’s touching lyrics? Put differently, let Lindsay and her serene vocals and piano mesmerize you for over five minutes, which is also the case in the cinematic Dawn, where Lindsay is unstoppable with her melancholic piano notes in this ethereal and almost instrumental composition. Then supported by the innocent voices from a children’s choir, Lindsay’s keys get more piercing while Rocky brings heaviness to the musicality with his riffs and (programmed) beats in Remember, whereas in the metallic and gracious See The Light it’s time to put the pedal to the metal, reminding me of some of the best creations by UK’s Industrial Rock/Metal band Lahannya, featuring nonstop drums and the guttural vocals by guest Xenoyr, bringing the “beast” to the music while Lindsay obviously represents the “beauty”.

Where I Fall, another touching ballad by Lindsay, is perfect for soothing your soul on a cold and dark night, bringing to our ears spot-on piano notes and keys, whereas My Way Without You, featuring guest Lauren Francis (Devilment) on backing vocals, is almost just a “vocal and piano” song, showing how much Lindsay loves this variation of Gothic Rock. And last but not least, although the whole album is amazing, I must admit her version for The Cure’s dark classic Lullaby (you can check the original version HERE) is beyond hypnotizing,  and I’m sure Robert Smith is proud of Lindsay not only for the amazing job she does on the piano, but especially by the way she declaims the song’s wicked lyrics with so much feeling.

As already mentioned, we at The Headbanging Moose couldn’t be happier and prouder of Lindsay Schoolcraft and her newborn spawn Martyr, and if you also want to show your sincere support to such talented Canadian woman you should definitely follow her on Facebook, subscribe to her YouTube channel, listen to more of her music on Spotify, and purchase Martyr (anytime soon) and all of her other releases from her own BandCamp page. In a nutshell, Martyr a a more-than-enjoyable album of rock and metal music, and let’s hope it inspires Lindsay to keep releasing albums under her solo career for years to come and, consequently, to visit your city or town in a not-so-distant future for live performances, embellishing the airwaves with her undeniable talent and charisma.

Best moments of the album: Saviour, See The Light and Lullaby.

Worst moments of the album: Dawn.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Saviour 4:17
2. Dangerous Game 4:35
3. Stranger 4:15
4. Into The Night 5:02
5. Blood From A Stone 5:03
6. Dawn 3:10
7. Remember 4:01
8. See The Light 3:47
9. Where I Fall 4:48
10. My Way Without You 4:48
11. Lullaby (The Cure cover) 4:32

Band members
Lindsay Schoolcraft – vocals, piano, harp
Rocky Gray – guitars, bass, drum programming

Guest musicians
Spencer Creaghan – orchestrations
Matthew Van Dreil – additional orchestrations
Vassilis Thomas – Orthodox chant on “Saviour”
David Michael Moote – Gregorian chant on “Saviour”
Chanel Martins – support with children’s choirs on “Dangerous Game”, “Warm Me” and “Remember”
Xenoyr – guest vocals on “See The Light”
Lauren Francis – backing vocals on “My Way Without You”