The Winter Chapter - "Time Of Faith"
By Marcus Pan
Classic darkwave - that is precisely the
sound that Winter Chapter pushes toward you on their latest release,
Time Of Faith. Comfortable guitar riffs, solid bass lines and bright yet
eerie vocals held together with spooky yet soothing synthesizer melodies. Made
up of lead singer Felix, guest guitarist Dean Owens, synth players Jeff Croall
and Stacy Latta with founding bassist Steve Jennings, Winter Chapter
have gained a following in their home state of California. Two EPs preceded WCs
Time Of Faith full length and they consider themselves the gothic/80s
influenced band. You can hear influences from the likes of Bauhaus, Sisters of
Mercy, Nosferatu and just about any other original darkwave 80s rock group you
Does WC take their recipe for success to a new level?
Probably not - there isn't anything new or unheard of on Time Of Faith.
But what they do produce is solid and standard fare that will fit in nearly any
gothic/80s rotation whether it be a private party, public club or radio mix.
They create well-made, well-versed and solid goth rock music from a quartet of
talented musicians. It's that simple. What I enjoy most about WC is how easy
they are to listen to. There are few moods I have that wouldn't benefit from a
spin of Time of Faith. I can play it when I'm getting ready to hit the
weekend night life, or I can play it when I come home from the same and need a
chilling out and coming down period. It's an extremely versatile CD.
The downside to taking such a
common approach is that a few of the tracks here are so straight-and-narrow on
the standard darkwave path that they may sound bland. They don't stand out -
they're fine once they're playing, sure, but within minutes you forget the
song. It just doesn't stay with you. Sounds good when it's playing, though,
like I said. The only thing that I can assume is that because they stay so
close to the format that's been used for two decades now, it just gets mixed
away with all the other bands I remember.
The opening track of Time Of Faith is a song called
Nevermore, a high-strumming, brightly-vocalized piece with SoM style
guitar riffs and a fluid bassline. Felix does something unusual for a lot of
the CDs I've been reviewing lately (excepting the chick-fronted bands) - he
sings! He doesn't growl, doesn't grumble, doesn't whine. He
sings, and does so with flair and aplomb. About goddamn time another guy
sang - or maybe I'm just getting too mired in the industrial/noise genre
reviews. On track 9, opening with the sound of thunder, is New Emotion.
I wanted to highlight this track because I love the way the bass and the
keyboards work together, complimenting each other as the song moves eerily
along. I do wonder about why two keyboard players are used - that's quite
unusual. Maybe one of them should pick up the guitar
from what I could
tell they don't have a full time guitarist.
The Winter Chapter provide a very close rendition of
the 80s darkwave and rock-pop favorites we all remember from days gone by.
They've shrugged off the vox, threw out the samples and Felix went out and
decided that we needed a band with a SINGer rather than a grumbler. Nothing
new, but something for everyone I think. Even if The Winter Chapter don't stand
out as pioneers, they at least stand among the ghosts of the old-skool greats
when they play.
Post: The Winter
Chapter, 434 Boynton Ave #138, San Jose, CA, 95117
Phone: (408) 984-7609
Click to Buy!