ALBUM REVIEW: Kirk Windstein – Dream In Motion
Photo Credit: Jimmy Hubbard
It goes without saying that Kirk Windstein is one of the unsung heroes of heavy metal guitar playing. Whether it’s with his day job in sludge metal overlords Crowbar, supergroup Down or his work with Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta in Kingdom Of Sorrow. The man appears to be in possession of a seemingly endless supply of low-tuned, infectious grooves and bone-shaking riffs. Now, at the turn of a new decade he has decided to turn his attention to a new outlet, in the form of a full length solo album entitled Dream In Motion.
From the very outset of the title-track it’s apparent that this isn’t your traditional Windstein album. Yes, all of the regular hallmarks of the man are there. The low-tuned, dense guitar riffs combined with the trudging pace and watertight rhythmic section all blend perfectly to create the sound that has become synonymous with the name. However, the use of melody has been dialled way up. The harmonised guitar lines and crooning vocals contrast the dense, claustrophobic sound of the instrumental perfectly and the chorus is amongst the catchiest that Windstein has ever penned. To see him embracing the more experimental elements of songwriting is quite something to behold, it feels as though this project sees him writing at his most liberated and it seems to be bolstering some superb results.
Once Again is one of the highlights of the release, with the atmospherics that the track are built upon adding a haunting feel to proceedings. This new progressive style really suits Windstein and shows a completely different side to a man who has made a name for himself writing sludgey, heavy metal tunes. The vocal approach in particular shows him using an airy, soft tone that is more in keeping with the likes of Devin Townsend than his usual harsh delivery that has become such a staple of Crowbar’s sound.
Enemy In Disguise picks up where the last song left off. The sorrowful vocals echo beautifully and carry the tune over the top of the chilling instrumental, especially when they are harmonised as the song develops, sounding somewhat reminiscent of Alice In Chains in their heyday.
In the second half of the album Toxic turns back towards the musical side of Windstein that people are more familiar with. The riffs are deep and droning and the subject matter is dismal, but that is what fans of the man have come to know and love, and it is where he has made his name for a reason. The fact that it has been showcased at this stage of the album shows his experience, knowing that by this point his faithful followers may be growing weary of the lighter material and would be pining for something to bang their heads to.
The back end of the album settles back into the more progressive realm. Necropolis opens with a melodic run of harmonised lead guitars that soon give way to the the sorrowful, almost howled singing. Everything about this track feels grand in scale and the vocal range on display is unlike anything that we have previously encountered from Windstein. The whole track feels as though it’s about to fly off into something far heavier and leaves you anticipating throughout. However, this moment never comes and instead you are lead straight into The Ugly Truth. Another swelling, slow burning song that combines the weighty, dense guitar tones with the gravel throated, crooning singing. This is the sound of a man bearing his soul in a way that he never has before and the freedom in which he is writing, without the burden of needing to play heavy metal is something that plenty of new fans will be able to relate to. This is the most accessible that Windstein has ever been and it’ll be interesting to see how many new followers he accumulates once this album is circulated for a while.
Dream In Motion is the first body of work that Kirk Windstein has put out as a truly solo project and it appears to be a real showcase of his musical range and talent for songwriting. Between his reunion with the other members of Down and the promise of a new Crowbar album, it’s looking to be a busy couple of years for the veteran. Hopefully this doesn’t mean we will have to wait too long for another instalment of this particular project.
Standout Tracks: Dream In Motion, Toxic, The Ugly Truth
For Fans Of: Crowbar, Black Sabbath
Written by: Richard Webb