Tuesday 23 June 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Wino, "Forever Gone"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/06/2020
Label: Ripple Music

“Forever Gone” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Forever Gone
2). Taken
3). The Song Is At The Bottom Of The Bottle
4). No Wrong
5). Dark Ravine
6). Dead Yesterday
7). So Fine
8). Crystal Madonna
9). Lavender and Sage
10). Was, Is, and Shall Be
11). Isolation

The Review:

Wino is the rarest of beasts- an elder statesman of a metal genre who is still revered and hasn't faded into irrelevance. It's a testament to his skills as a song writer and his charisma or star quality, if you prefer, that is sadly lacking from the scene these days.

Whether it be his output with The Obsessed (uniformly excellent), Saint Vitus (ditto), Spirit Caravan (ditto), The Hidden Hand (ditto) one off involvements like Shrinebuilder, Place of Skulls and even Probot (again, ditto) Wino is always an engaging aural presence.

We are a decade on from his last acoustic solo album (not counting his records with Conny Ochs) and I listened to “Forever Gone” wondering what type of songs he would present this time. Pleasingly, this feels like a sequel to “Adrift”- Wino has retained the lovelorn and melancholic qualities of that record and they are presented just as starkly here.

Only two tracks feature a full band presentation, the rest are guitar and voice- with some extra instrumentation to compliment the stark arrangements here and there. The title track and the three tracks that follow are wistful and also dark. In fact, it's not until the seventh track, “So Fine” that there are any kind of uplifting vibes to be really heard. A hint at Wino's headspace may be found in the album's powerful closing statement- a cover of Joy Division's “Isolation”. Lyrically, the album is great throughout and Wino's ruminations on the world are worth the price of admission.

If Wino is in a lonely place of dreams where hours turn into years, as “Lavender and Sage” proclaims, then he is gifting us some great music. How many more records there will be we simply cannot know. It's crazy, but Wino started up The Obsessed in 1980. To put this into perspective, Lemmy started Motorhead in 1975, so only five years of activity split the two talismanic frontmen.

You'll certainly wade through dark and murky waters as you listen through this album, but as you might expect, there are hidden depths that are worth investing the time to find here. A natural and worthy successor to “Adrift”, full of sombre reflection and eloquent musings.

“Forever Gone” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook