Winter Villains
Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes

Released: 11th May 2015
Label: Owlet Music

Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes is the second album from Cardiff based Winter Villains and the follow up to their debut album February released in 2013, an album which you all should own. For their second album Winter Villains have found a home at Owlet Music and, as far as labels and bands go, there really could not have been a more perfect match. This is the label run by Trwbador, a band who we all love at AMP, who encourage creativity and diversity which is exactly what Winter Villains give us in the music they create.

There are so many words that spring to mind when listening to Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes; unique, imaginative, gorgeous, cinematic, atmospheric, beautiful, sublime, endless, dreamlike, complete. However, no matter how many words spring to my mind, there is no substitute for wrapping your own ears around this creative and stunning album and trying to come up with some of your own as you immerse yourself in a listening experience that you will not forget.

From ‘Illumination’, the opening instrumental, through to the uplifting orchestral ending of ‘28 Today’, this is an album that needs to be enjoyed as a whole. Do not skip tracks whatever you do or you will be missing out on something very special.

That said I do need to give special mention to ‘Empire’ which is absolutely sublime, it sounds like a band waking from hibernation to a world that is full of sunshine, blue skies and bursting with possibilities. The opening keys of ‘Hunters’ will make you come to a complete standstill; the hushed vocals are delivered in an infectious manner with percussion and strings that ensure this is a song you will instantly fall in love with. ‘Pt. 1 - So the Battle Begins’ and ‘Pt. 2 - We Lost Our Children in the Depths of the Forest’ provide somewhat of a centerpiece for the album, as these songs unfold their dramatic and beautiful sounds will leave you lost for words.

Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes is an an absolute pleasure to listen to and is everything an album should be, make sure you give this album the time, love and attention it deserves.

Steve Tay

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