Winterage – The Inheritance of Beauty Review

You know when you lose a bet and find yourself wearing a Red Sox jersey and forced to eat a hundred cocktail weenies until you purge yourself in the tub? Well, that’s nothing compared to the Paw of Steel punishment for picking on Kenny. Ken told me it was corset-core. Cool, I like corsets. There may or may not have been the mention of Nightwish, but I cataloged that as trollarchy. So, I took the punishment and rolled with it. Well, you know those times when a movie character comes to a dramatic realization? When the camera zooms in, and they look up at nothing and whisper, “Dear GOD”? (Clears throat) The band’s name is Winterage. Minor cringe. The album title is The Inheritance of Beauty. Yeah, OK, fine, whatever. The album is DR8. Oh, fantastic! They play symphonic power metal. Gulp. They’re Italian. Don’t think about Rhapsody of Fire, don’t think about Rhapsody of Fire. They’re signed to Scarlet Records. Jesus in heaven. Then, I saw the band photo. Fuuuuuuuuck.

OK, go. Scroll down. I’ll give you a sec to look at the band photo. First impression? Do you see any fucking corsets? No. Fucking Kenny. Alright, in all seriousness, I gave this a real go. But, first, more questions. Do you like Gloryhammer? Cool, good for you. No one cares. How about Blind Guardian? Nice, I like them too. Doesn’t mean anything here. How about Nightwish? Actually, we’re getting a little closer. What do you think about Rhapsody of Fire? Have you ever thought they deserved a full-time violin player? Like Korpiklaani or some shit. That sound good? Some of you are nodding. I see you nodding. Ok, then, here ya go.

On the surface, Winterage is the same as every other symphonic power metal band. They have blistering fast fretboard frenetics, a strong vocal lead, bombastic choruses, and over-the-top orchestrations. The unique twists are their regular violinist and the occasional female operatics. The former isn’t a bad touch, even if it increases the cheese factor. But in other places, it’s quite impressive. Though it has too much wanking, the interplay between guitar and violin on “Chain of Heaven” is pretty killer. In other moments, like on “Oblivion Day” and “Wisdom of Us,” the violin lends a hand to the layers of orchestration. While the female leads come and go throughout the album, they’re biggest in “Orpheus and Eurydice” and “La Morte di Venere.” The first is a beauty-and-the-beast type number with both vocalists trying to out opera one another. I very much dislike it. The second song is like a musical number in the middle of a Marx Brothers movie. The crazy antics stop for five minutes while the boys sit in silence to watch the pretty lady sing. It’s way too opera-like for me, and it’s a weird, boring, one-off track.

The lead vocals, for better or worse, are something else entirely. Though I love their Kameloty approach to “Of Heroes and Wonders,” I don’t much care for them in general. The attempts at diversity are all over the board. At one point, they’re straightforward, like on the title track. Other times, they’re burlier, like on the pirating nightmare that is “The Mutineers.” And then there’re those horrendous wails, like on the final note of the perfectly good “Of Heroes and Wonders” and throughout “Chain of Heaven.”

But you haven’t heard anything yet. After nine songs and forty-five minutes of music, Winterage has the audacity to close the album with a nearly seventeen-minute piece. But not just any piece. It’s a mini rock opera directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as a fucking toymaker. I’m sorry, not a fucking one, an AMAZING one. “The Amazing Toymaker” is a half-wheel of swiss cheese so big you could sleep in one of its holes. The orchestrations are gargantuan, and the vocals hop around from character to character like “What’s This?” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. The laughing toys, the trumpet, and the awful rasping on the back half of the song are just awful. I’ve listened to it a dozen times, and each time, I catch myself staring at a wall with my mouth open.

Before “The Amazing Toymaker,” this is a barebones symphonic power metal record. After the closer, the album takes on a whole new character. One that’s, truth be told, laughable. Beyond the absurdity and insanity of the song, the music isn’t the worst part. Sixteen-and-a-half minutes and over four minutes of it is talking. And the final minutes of the song never end.1 Prior platter The Harmonic Passage, worked from beginning to end. Some of the songs are even fun. Unfortunately for The Inheritance of Beauty, “Of Heroes and Wonders” is the only song I enjoy. In reality, it’s the closer that breaks the record. There’ll be those that enjoy the song, but not without laughing your ass off. You’ll find better symphonic power metal elsewhere.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kb/s mp3
Label: Scarlet Records | Bandcamp2
Websites: winterage.bandcamp.com3 | |
Releases Worldwide: January 15th, 2021

Show 3 footnotes

  1. This is known as Return of the King Disorder in industry-speak. –Steel
  2. Go here to find the band’s newest stuff.
  3. Go here to find the band’s older stuff.
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