I usually don't really consider myself a sludge metal fan. However, since I've started this whole thing I've been staring at my speakers in absolute disbelief many times, or at least amazement. Besides, I've witnessed some damn good performances by sludge bands. Lately, I've been very interested in the whole 'post-' craze. As a post-rock faddist and a die-hard doomer, I love those elaborate atmospherical passages and the massive outbursts of aggression.
Phantom Winter arose from the ashes of Omega Massiv in Würzburg, Germany. For me, they're one of the bands who keep me interested in this genre, mostly because of the elements mentioned in the opening paragraph. Besides, Phantom Winter has this brilliant, blackened edge which is damn piercing. With an excellent mix of melodic doom metal, post-rock and depressive black metal, these guys certainly convince. Furthermore, they make it sound quite modern, perfectly fitting in with acts like Cult Of Luna, AmenRa or even The Ocean.
While the tempo usually is quite slow, my favorite track 'Finster Wald' takes the aggression to a speedy level by the end. Yet, there's already plenty of aggression and intensity present. Phantom Winter continuously lull you into a blissful trance with those atmospheric passages, only to brutally wake you up with massive riffs and blackened screams. That recipe is repeated throughout the entire album and reaches other highlights in the stunning close 'Wintercult'.
So as far as blackened sludge doom is concerned, this certainly is one of the most impressive releases in 2015. I'm quite sure that after Omega Massiv split, the music of Phantom Winter will take these guys to the next level, as in bigger stages. I'm already looking forward to seeing this live. If this is, as this band call their music, 'Winterdoom', let's hope spring never comes again...