Sound — 7
There's always something a little warm and fuzzy about hearing a good debut from a UK metal band. However, pining on about them lads from Bath' isn't best suited for this site, and despite the deceptive cover art, Ignominious Incarceration do not often experience the bitter Russian winter, unlike some of our heroic staff. But I digress; Of Winter Born' is an album that manages to fit quite nicely into that promotional stereotype: combining brutality and melody like none before! Sure, we've all heard that line but these guys manage it quite well. There's a solid death metal base here, however there's plenty of space left for other things - most notably some very interesting combinations between lead lines and infectious metalcore rhythms but also a fair amount of questionably generic melodeath riffs and diminished arpeggio showcases. The performance is absolutely airtight (triggered bass drums still count as tight', right? ) and the production manages to keep things clear without falling into the technical sterility metal' category. It must be said, though, that some of the riffs on here are a little flat. It's unfortunate that a majority of the energy seems to go into little bursts of greatness rather than fleshing out the entirety of the songs, whilst the excess tends to blur into several unoriginal and/or uninspired segments. There are some exceptions, of course, and with a 10 track album having four or five highlights is no problem.
Lyrics — 7
The vocal performance of Andy Wardle is excellent, with a clinical execution and application of his mid-to-low bark. Certainly, the lyrics fit neatly into the music, without a syllable out of place, however the substance behind the words themselves is not entirely apparent. Song titles like Tide Of Pestilence' and Elegance In Aggression' (the latter just begging for press releases to wax lyrical) don't bode well for anything original, however unlike the music the majority of this stuff is relatively stiff and unspectacular. Still, it's only rock n roll, so a good vocal performance more than compensates for any lyrical shortcomings.
Overall Impression — 7
For an album that clearly doesn't gun for innovation, it sure is difficult to slap a genre label on this one. It's far too much like real death metal to go under the modernised melodic death metal', far too melodic to go under death metal' and the metalcore elements aren't nearly frequent enough for it to be called deathcore'. But who cares? Of Winter Born' is a fairly good album, with some absolutely killer moments mostly courtesy of a stop-start rhythm, a good lead melody or a combination of the two. Even if the entire disc doesn't match their quality, it's certainly worth checking out songs such as the title track and Dynasty Damnation'.