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winterseverityindex slantingray
Artist: Winter Severity Index
Title: Slanting Ray
Genre: Ethereal New Wave/ Synth Rock
Release Date: 6th May 2014
Label: Manic Depression Records

Album Review

Sometimes an album appears, as if from nowhere, and you wonder why it hadn’t been written before. Italy’s WINTER SEVERITY INDEX have created a complete, ethereal world with ‘Slanting Ray’, that spans several decades in influences and touchstones, yet is fully realised, exclusive and unique. Listening to the ten songs on offer here is like watching a private drama unfolding through misted up glass, and it leaves a longing to be part of it, yet a sense of peace that you found this way at all and were gifted a glimpse into this wintery, eerily beautiful world.

There is a heavy debt to JOY DIVISION, see the taut drumming intro to ‘A Sudden Cold’ or the chilly, intricate bass lines on ‘Bianca’, but the overall sound is more here and now, flashes of ZOLA JESUS, WARPAINT or 2:54. THE CURE’s ‘Pornography’ era is evoked in the dense atmospherics and slow, patient playing out of the songs, washes of swirling synths and guitars are straight from the 4AD roster, and you can hear THE COCTEAU TWINS and CRANES floating about at the edges. But despite this, WINTER SEVERITY INDEX shake all this off with a floppy-fringed shrug, existing, one suspects, entirely in a vacuum when making music.

‘At Least The Snow’, the albums opener, beautifully unravels itself as something both sad and uplifting, a trick employed throughout, preventing ‘Slanting Ray’ from becoming too dark or too much like hard work. These aren’t songs that reveal themselves in a hurry, and the album on the whole benefits from a start to finish repeated immersion. Lie back and let ‘Fishblood’ wash over you, sink into the multi-layered gorgeousness of ‘Lighting Ratio’ or feel a chill down the spine on the sinister creep and crawl of ‘No Will’. The spoken word sections on this song are like a scarily gothic ANNE CLARK, “Compulsion” repeated with an unapologetic sneer. It’s superb.

One misstep comes with the ghastly inclusion of a saxophone on ‘Ordinary Love’. It just about gets away with it when hovering hauntingly in the background but when it’s allowed to go all eighties half way through, there’s simply no excuse. The song itself is of the same quality on show throughout, so forgiveness is a must. ‘Embracing The Void’ brings the album to a dignified end, a beautifully mournful vocal wrapped up in chiming guitars and busy, reverb-heavy drums. It displays the same confident pace, slowly revealing its layers and charms until with a last breath, it’s over and the silence that follows it feels like part of the recording.

‘Slanting Ray’ is a stunning album, a mood piece arranged into movements that feed one to another, a cohesive, atmospheric and bold record. Whatever they do next, you just get the feeling it will be very special indeed.


01. At Least The Snow
02. Ordinary Love
03. A Sudden Cold
04. Bianca
05. The Brightest Days
06. Fishblood
07. Lighting Ratio
08. No Will
09. Compulsion
10. Embracing The Void


Simona Ferrucci - Vocals, guitar, bass and drum machine programming
Alessandra Romeo - Synths, keyboards
on stage: Giovanni Stax - Bass guitar

Website / /

Cover Picture

winterseverityindex slantingray


Music: 9
Sound: 9
Total: 9 / 10

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