Review by Tony Cannella - Femme Metal Webzine - 03/03/11
As I write this, we are in the midst of a BRUTAL winter storm, oh the irony. The band is calledWinter Storm and they hail from the UK. They were founded in 2008, and have just issued their debut album, "Serenity in Darkness". A 10-song, 50-minute slab of female fronted, melodic Gothic Metal, with some symphonic metal influences added to the mix as well. Lead vocalist Hannah Fieldhouse, does not only add her smooth vocal style to the proceedings, but she also chips in with Rhythm and Lead Guitars, showing what a talented lady she is. "Serenity in Darkness" begins with the bombastic "Firedancer". From here on in, "Serenity in Darkness" showcases the bands dark metal leanings, with some seriously heavy riffs and good bits of melody. After a brief intro, "The Embrace" kicks in, with its dense guitar riff and frenetic pace, this immediately became a favorite. The band has received some positive reviews for their live shows and I must say that "Serenity in Darkness" has a raw, live sounding vibe to it. "Sinner’s Saint" begins with a peaceful guitar intro before settling into a nice mid-tempo groove. Some more highlights: "Internal Storm", "Inner Demon" and the closing trio of "Dark Wings", "Drowned in Tears" and "Retribution". I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the masked man behind the keyboards. Jason Oakley wears a luchador (in Pro Wrestling terms) style mask, he is also a professional wrestler and he brings that aspect to the band with him. Aside, from that bit of visualization, Winter Storm is a band that lets the music do the talking and on "Serenity in Darkness", it is all about the music.
Rating – 73/100
Winter Storm: Serenity in Darkness album review - by Adam Wilby - 22/12/10
From the West Midlands Winter Storm are Hannah Fieldhouse (Vocals and Lead Guitar), Jason Oakley (Keyboards), Daniel Yates (Bass Guitar) and Wayne Taylor (Guitar).
On the whole ‘Serenity in Darkness’ serves to clarify what Winter Storm are attempting to accomplish musically which is perhaps best described themselves as dark melodic metal. For this reviewer, however, the measure of a band isn’t the genre of music they choose to make but how fresh they make it seem. Hannah Fieldhouse’s ethereal vocals are outstanding on such tracks as ‘The Embrace’ and ‘Sinners Saint’ yet they prove to be strong enough at the forefront of one of the heavier songs on the album in the shape of ‘Prison Cell’.
Despite experiencing certain line-up difficulties Winter Storm manage to overcome this and produce an album of a high standard. The guitars of both Hannah and Wayne Taylor as well as the bass work of Daniel Yates meshing well both with each other and Jason Oakley’s keyboard and synth work which perhaps features most prominently at the beginning of ‘Firedancer’.
On the whole a most promising debut offering, can’t wait to finally see them live soon.
Midlands Rocks - Review by Tony Gaskin 18/12/10
A debut album from this popular melodic power metal outfit from Birmingham has been long overdue, but finally, after months of hard work, “Serenity in Darkness” is now ready to be unleashed.
Opening track, “Firedancer”, epitomises everything that Winter Storm are about, powerful riffs, melodic harmonies and haunting vocals. This Middle Eastern inspired track sets the tone for the rest of the album and is quickly followed track after track of beautifully crafted songs that make the most of Hannah’s ethereal vocals which are cleverly balanced by the heavy licks and breakdowns of hers and Wayne’s guitars.
Depth is added to the tracks with Jason on keyboards and excellent bass from Dan, with a professional job by stand in drummer Richard Marsden, which create an overall sound which can only be described as darkly melodic, but with a powerful metal edge to it.
Tracks like “Inner Demon” and “Internal Storm” will appeal to those who tend to lean towards the more gothic metal genre, whilst the fans who like a good head bang are catered for with tracks like “Prison Cell” and my favourite track “Retribution”
All in all, a debut album which will appeal to a broad spectrum of metal fans, whether you’re into gothic, power, industrial or prog, there are elements of all these to be found in Winter Storms music and they blend them together seamlessly to create a competent effort, with only one small gripe. I’d would have liked to hear Hannah’s vocals being more prominent in the final mix, there are times when you get the impression they have to take a back seat to the guitar pieces, but apart from that, not a bad job at all!
The album is out now and is available directly from the band
Drowned in Tears
Dave Smith, Ravenheart Music
(Independent Release) Reviewed 2nd December 2010
Winter Storm is a local Dark Melodic Metal Band, based in-fact just a few miles from Ravenheart Music HQ in Kidderminster. The band fronted by Hannah Fieldhouse work hard and gig endlessly, and now they have their very first cd to be proud of. Having seen this band live more than once, I was rather curious as to what they sound like on cd. To be honest, I was not disappointed, and this is another band that seriously could and should challenge the bigger bands on mainland Europe. As mentioned above, the music falls into the Dark Melodic Metal Category, with Hannah's vocals being clear and at times near operatic, without overdoing it, and overall musicianship from the band is damn cool. Although lyrically dark, the music itself is at times quite upbeat, while maintaining an element of heaviness and darkness, with one of my faves being the catchy 'The Embrace', this song in-fact stays in your head for ages! 'Internal Storm' thunders along, while 'Inner Demons' starts slow and atmospheric, before the chorus thunders out of the speakers and hits you between the eyes. There are other good tracks on this release including the heavy 'Dark Wings', while I feel that Winter Storm by and large would be the right type of act to be supporting a band like Draconian, without the male growly vocals. Check the band out at http://www.winter-storm.com, whilst I must say that this release is good with awesome musicianship throughout from all concerned! 8.75/10 (Reviewed by Dave Smith, Ravenheart Music)
The Metalheadz – Album Review by Citizen X
In an industry rife with countless genres, sub-genres and sub-sub-genres it's refreshing to find a band that use a simple label to describe themselves and stick to it. Winter Storm have dubbed themselves as a "Dark Melodic Metal band" and that's exactly what they provide the listener, all the dark connotations of old school Goth and Doom, fused with a modern melodic metal edge.
Delivering, as they do, heavy yet atmospheric songs all wrapped up in a female fronted package, it would be easy to lump Winter Storm in with the growing number of female fronted bands that have arisen from Europe in the last decade, but to do so would be a disservice, as you would be neglecting all the unique qualities that have led to this Dudley band kicking up quite a storm of interest in their native West Midlands.
What Winter Storm present on Serenity in Darkness are well crafted and executed songs, though at times I felt there was a little something missing. On going back and re-listening to the album, it occurred to me that some of the songs would benefit greatly from the occasional death growl or other harsh vocal as 50 minutes of melodic female vocals can, at times, make the songs feel a little samey. I'm sure there will be people who will embrace them whole heartedly for having only female vocals, but personally, I feel harsh vocals would help to take their songs to the next level.
Tracks like The Embrace and Internal Storm, which have been constant fan favourites on the live circuit translate well on the record and are definitely the highlights of the album. All in all, a solid start from Winter Storm and a release that shows a lot of potential for album number two.
Album rating: 7/10
For fans of: Leaves' Eyes, Tristania, Epica.