Artist: Three Winters
Title: The Atrocities EP
Keywords: Experimental, Industrial, Neo-Folk, Post-Punk, Synthpop
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
Nothing delights my ravaged ears quite like receiving a very well-mastered EP of coldwave / dark synth / industrial music for review. The Atrocities, by Norwegian group Three Winters, is one of those EPs. I couldn’t help but feel excited while listening to it, and I really can’t wait to just be finished with the review and hit ‘post’ so the rest of you will know about it. The group is comprised of artists Kim Sølve, a member also of the groups K100, Kim, and Blitzkrieg Baby who you might remember from the review I did of their album Porcus Norvegicus, Anders B. of groups Babyflesh and Mind & Flesh, and Lars Fredrik Frøislie of Wobbler and White Willow. They are all names to watch. These guys are on it. Aside from original tracks by Three Winters we are also treated to several mixes, all of expert quality. The label, Beläten, is actually a tape label run out of Sweden, which adds even more allure to the sounds they seem to be putting out. So, getting straight to the review…
… The first track here is ‘Atrocities’. It begins with an electro stomp adding gritty analogue bass and sweeping analogue synth pads! I’m enjoying the feel so far, it is as though I’ve stepped through a portal into a dimension in which everything I love is swirling around me. Then the next beat drags in and everything starts to sound intensely 80s coldwave electro/industrial! Just amazing. The beautiful synth leads in the next section make the whole track for me. Ooooh, it’s just so hot! You never want it to end! Absolutely breathtaking synth work, I could get down to this all night. The end is really nice, when all of the synths seem to filter and fade, and the kick and high-decay snare ring out.
Next is ‘At The Centre Of Dystopia’, which features a low analogue bass growl, some organ, then an ultra-groovy electro-industrial tinged rhythm! It’s so cold that it’s hot. There is a vocoded voice that comes in, hovering in the midst of the synths and the groove almost like a whisper. More tasty synth work! Things get dark, like an expressionist horror film, a Phantom of the Dancefloor. All of the elements of this track are in perfect synchronization, the panned synth sequence toward the end a very nice touch!
The Pseen mix of ‘At The Centre Of Dystopia’ sounds like some retro EBM, very Liaisons Dangereuses or Deutsche Amerikanische Freundschaft style. It’s a total analogue throb that will make you twitch. The melodies are all very nervous, anxious and beautiful. When reduced to just the bassline it gets cool, then a more fleshed-out groove comes in.
Aymeric Thomas’ mix of ‘Atrocities’ begins with harpsichord, a haunting flute, some synths and a clap. Wow! This is some really amazing stuff, particularly when the scattering, refracted arp sound comes in and the groove gets more intense. Tons of beautiful synths on this one, too! The bass is very neo-electro, modulating and warbling. This is an interesting mix for an album like this, as there’s definitely a lot of chiptune in sections, but it’s not lofi or low bit sounding at all.
The next mix of ‘Atrocities’ is by Mister, and it kicks off with a repeating synth bass with lfo. There is a dual synth added, a low bell sequence, a plucky synth, then a simple electro groove with a snappy snare. I like a lot of the breakdown sections, there’s a really great rhythm to this track, and a lot of full-sounding synth waves that just wash over you. Beautiful stuff!
The Th. Tot mix of ‘Atrocities’ begins with a couple synth bass sequences, adds a really nice groove and lovely analogue leads. It returns in many ways to what makes the original so great, and you really get a sense of the yearning of the track, the desire of it comes through very well. It’s almost like a soundtrack.
‘Aeon Surveillance’ is the final track on the EP, and appears to be a bonus original piece. Synth pad string chords play, more analogue lushness is added in the form of a sawtooth wave synth and a sequence that is really lovely. It grabs you, then lets go as you fall into the abyss.
I can’t say it enough, this is a really pro album! It’s full of atmosphere, and you’re absolutely going to want to own it. One of the great things about it is that the various mixes don’t rely so heavily on the source material that it’s a crutch and tend to do their own thing a bit, lending a lot of diversity to the EP. Those of you who are into the vintage feel can get it on micro-cassette from the Beläten label’s website at the link below…
… and at the artist’s bandcamp website, which is also where you can listen and buy it in digital formats…