Wine From Tears is one of those bands within one of those genres that results in a love-hate relationship caught within a love-hate relationship for me, in other less confusing words, it’s not my thing but yet I can’t find much fault with it either. At times WFT are very dramatic and almost cliché with their synth backdrops and borderline trance (like the rave/dance music “trance”) music happy melodies that come awkwardly close to candy coated and dreamy, but just as I get a sense of that and my guts begin to wrench, the songs will suddenly erupt into rages of heavy doom riffing as a bit more gloom and dark emotional tension begins to drown out the frilly shit for a bit. The atmospheres are somewhat romantic tragedy, not too unique in Gothic/funeral/dark doom metal, the lengthy songs are fairly epic yet still very active, and the production as well as musicianship is pretty flawless, but even with those solid foundations scoring in their favor they manage to do something “cute” to make me uncomfortable. But after much deliberation on my part and asking for the assistance of others to help validate my reason(s) for not being able to digest this album as a whole the verdict is that of a “not my thing” by reason of “[the album] being too upbeat(?)”. Seriously? A doom death album that’s not abysmally grim and/or gloriously tragic with a flooding sense of despair and melancholy overload? Yup, and here it is.
So, what exactly makes this otherwise stellar album so Prozac/Zoloft infused? Well, they throw in these lighter almost emo moments into songs like the obnoxious radio friendly lyrics of stuff like ‘…can’t you see I’m broken?…’ done in lame, whimpy clean vocals like they do in “What Are You Waiting For” , an otherwise pretty damn killer doom song comprised of premium structures and dynamics, especially when it finally bludgeons itself into a catchy and thunderous climax over halfway through it’s duration. The leads are also remarkable as they sort of round out the definitive drum work patterns and balance the effect of the deeper gruff vocals, but as much as I really really really want to love this song it’s the shiny happy vocal stuff and the dinky single note piano “tink…tink” repeating underneath that makes it a bit more Sunday morning drizzle than torrential downpour as far as I’m concerned. And now that I’ve begun to let it rip (and for once NOT meaning something ejecting from my ass) I’m now moving on to the fourth song, “In Memory of the Truth”, where the band persists to continue to rot my teeth out and then suddenly, as always, about halfway through the song they turn things around and start to lay down some rhythm force via stomping grooves, they then procede to slug out a few good heavy tones and even add in some fuzz to buff out the chords a bit. Sounding pretty good right? EEERRRRRRRNNTTTT, wrong again.
Yet again the leads are sharp and lethal and I’m on dangling over the edge of this perceived crevasse of utter blackness anticipating being blown off into the void as the song finally delivers the deathblow I’ve been hoping for to redeem itself and then the damn thing just diffuses into lame yet again. It literally fizzles out like Alka Seltzer that’s been sitting for a few minutes, you get all the hiss and bubbles and then suddenly all of the gas is gone and it’s just flat citrus flavored liquid, it’s the same here. You’d think all that commotion would deliver something a bit more intense, but at least with AS you get a nifty buzz about 20 minutes later and feel sleepy and you can breathe better, with WFT you just feel kinda cheated. Honestly, for my taste the band really needs to make a decision as to whether they want to be sold in a Hot Topic mall store as metal or if they want to actually be a metal band, but at the same time I honestly love most of what they fucking do here I’d just like to prune it a bit to keep the emotion and intensity high but get rid of the feminine moments. I’m a pretty feminine woman too, but do prefer my tragedies to be more Poe than Emily Bronte.
Please keep in mind, especially those familiar with my tastes (or lack thereof depending on who you ask) that I’ve really really really tried to swallow this one fervently for many months now and just can’t without choking on it. I’ve never been a fan of this style, even going back to My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, it’s awesome but still tastes either too much like cotton candy or is too gothic romance novel for me. If those bands and others similar are to your liking then Wine From Tears and their sophomore effort Glad To Be Dead are an absolute “must” hear, the have been receiving well deserved praise and have been continually compared with Swallow the Sun. But even if you’re more in line with my reactions to this sort of band/album than at least hear it for your own sake because it’s pretty incredible and well worth hearing and my reviewing it just because it’s that well done, but please don’t expect to fall in love with it.
If I were to give it a grade ironically it’d be an A, but that’s based on general quality because Glad to Be Dead has many seriously wicked moments that are impossible to overlook, I just wish that it sounded more like “Glad to Be Dead” than “Glad to Be Alive”.
The entire album and their debut can be streamed/downloaded at: