Gwynbleidd
Nostalgia

You’d expect competent Opeth worship to come from Sweden and such, but not necessarily from the US, however as bands like Daylight Dies, Iron Thrones and Gwynbleidd showed on 2006 excellent Amaranthine EP back in 2006, Opeth worship can come from anywhere. In the case of Gwynbleidd, the depths of Brooklyn, NY (albeit by way of Poland).

Make no bones about it, Gwynbleidd like Opeth, but their homage is so competently done and when you consider its origins, it makes it all the more impressive. Long tracks with languid, soft textures and acoustics melding with gruff, but eloquent, layered death metal complete with a few clean vocals and stern growls. The song writing is top notch and overall, Gwynbleidd shows that unsigned bands can release a fantastic, professionally produced and packaged releases on small obscure labels and be just as good, if not better than their bigger budget and pr having peers.

Look no further than the opening 10+ minute title track (which along with “New Setting” appeared on the debut EP) for everything you need to know about Gwynbleidd’s elegant hues- the clean, almost Celtic sounding vocal bridge towards the end, being particularly nice. The other redone track, “New Setting” is also an early album highlight with its mid song tempo shift from stern death metal to superlative acoustics and back. “Stormcalling” initially sees the band be a little more aggressive before an expected and very well done acoustic break. Admittedly by the time “Thawing Innocence”, “Staring into the Sun” and 9-minute closer “Canvas for Departure” roll around there are no real surprises in Gwynbleidd’s recipe, but they do it with a level of competence few can match – maybe In Mourning are the only better Opeth worshippers out there right now.

My only real beef is that new tracks “Egress” and “Adrift” are instrumental fillers between the lengthy other tracks. If you are going to go ahead and redo older tracks for this album why not go ahead and do “Lure of the land” and “Awakening”, some of the bands finest moments, rather then these two slightly filler sounding tracks? “Canvas for Departure” could have easily been replaced (or at least cut in half).

Still, Nostalgia is absolutely top notch progressive metal, and a must have for Opeth fans as well as fans of Agalloch (though not as grey or rangy), Forest Stream, The Morningside, Farmakon, Klabautamann, Adytum and many others who kneel at the altar of Akerfeldt. It’s just nice to see yet another American band do it so well.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
October 13th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Barfneck

    This band sucks live, unfortunately.


  2. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    This is a great album.

    My current favorite Opeth-impersonators are Neath and That Hideous Strength. Way better than Iron Thrones or Adytum.


  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    THS has one song in particular that sounds like a more muscular version of Orchid but after that they lose me. Still good though. Need to check out these other ones. Hopefully they’re not another April Ethereal.


  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    Wow ‘Neath is great. Sounds like Opeth meets Riverside meets Akercocke (especially the debut, The Spider’s Sleep). Thanks for the lead.

    This Gwynbleidd is very good too, although it reminds me more of Insomnium overall than Opeth.


  5. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    ^ Be sure to check out their second release [The Small Untruths] Its great too.


  6. Commented by: axiom

    I see no point in listening to a band copying such a distinct sound as Opeth’s. Just listen to Opeth.


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