2016’s The Art of Loss was a compelling and engaging listen, skilfully weaving together melodic metal with progressive know-how. Well, a couple of years and a change of singer later, and we have a 66 minutes of new material in the shape of Long Night’s Journey into Day.
Winter Calling play polished and professional Progressive Rock that sounds perfectly modern in many ways but realistically has probably missed its era; I can easily imagine this band selling out huge arenas in the past.
Stylistically, the closest reference point is probably Threshold meets Evergrey.
The songs are well-written with plenty of hooks, catchiness and memorable choruses. The singer has an excellent voice that sometimes has a slight grainy quality to it on occasion, lending it an earthy quality that feels natural and unforced; other times it’s as soft as silk.
There’s a confidence and assurance to these songs. It stops just short of cockiness, but the band certainly know what they’re doing and are not shy of showing it off. Not that they should be, of course. Progressive Rock is not a style known for its shyness, and Winter Calling have enough talent and skill to be justified in their obvious self-belief.
The songs that span this hour of music, (including an Iron Maiden cover, or rather a reinterpretation), are all expertly played and benefit from not just the normal core instruments but also keyboards that add a plethora of little touches and extra levels to the already full music.
The album feels like it’s taking you on a journey, although you never get to quite find out where as the journey is what’s important, not the destination. I find that the best albums feel like this and I’m looking forward to exploring this release even more over the next few years.
Mature and emotive, this is an album that’s worth spending some time with.