Review: Wino ‘Forever Gone’

Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich should need no introduction but for the uninitiated he is a legend within the doom/stoner metal scene. He’s been in many groups throughout the years including Saint Vitus, The Obsessed and Spirit Caravan and that is barely scratching the surface.

Wino ‘Forever Gone’

Wino is no stranger to stripped-down acoustic music as 2010’s Adrift and collaborations with Connie Ochs would attest to, as would his contribution to the Townes Van Zandt covers album featuring Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till of Neurosis.

Forever Gone will be released on June 26th via Ripple Music and will launch that label’s new Blood And Strings series where notable rock and metal musicians will record acoustic albums. Wino, whatever project he has been involved with always manages to have awesome cover art and Forever Gone is no exception. A buxom lady in the shape of a guitar, what is not to dig.

The title track opens the record with a riff reminding me of Endless Circles off The Obsessed’s Lunar Womb, indicating that despite doing an introspective acoustic record he isn’t abandoned his doom roots entirely. Next up is Taken, the longest track on the album and which has a very mournful tone, grieving for the loss of a significant other. There is a whisky soaked Townes Van Zandt vibe about The Song’s At The Bottom Of The Bottle. The track has a fatalistic theme, much like Townes own Waiting Around to Die. No Wrong is a slice of downbeat blues, one could imagine the spirit of Leadbelly imbibing Wino.

[Isolation] is a master class on how cover songs should be done, maintaining the spirit of the original but with an interesting and original twist…

Dark Ravine and Dead Yesterday are both reworkings of tracks taken from Wino’s collaboration with Conny Ochs on 2012’s Heavy Kingdom. Dark Ravine is bluesier and rockier than the stripped down original but misses the delightful joint vocal harmonies of Wino and Conny. Compared to the original Dead Yesterday is more morose and disjointed with a, dare I say doomier, vibe to it, with Wino hitting the guitar a lot harder. The original was a ditty by comparison! You’re So Fine has a fun Stones feel with some silly lyrics ‘You’re so fine, as hot as a chilli, on the vine’. It makes for a nice change of mood on an otherwise sombre record. The levity is soon erased however by Crystal Madonna where themes of lost love, torment and hopelessness are all-pervading.

Lavender And Sage features some oddly Joe Cocker style vocal wails, which were both surprising and disconcerting. Here it feels like Wino is perhaps trying too hard to express his inner anguish and hence comes across as a little over emotive while Was Is Shall Be comes and goes with no marked impression on me.

The album ends on a positive with a killer version of Isolation. In one interview Wino stated about Joy Division that ‘The music they made is still some of the heaviest stuff ever’ and after the preceding couple of tracks, which had left me indifferent, its awesome to be able to end proceedings on such a high. This is a master class on how cover songs should be done, maintaining the spirit of the original but with an interesting and original twist.

This is possibly one of the darkest albums Wino has done, what it lacks in volume, it more than makes up for in emotional weight. As with Adrift and the Ochs collaborations, Wino focuses his attention once again on the more personal and introspective, showcasing his vulnerabilities, for the most part in, an effective way. For those who crave power chords and esoteric/political lyrics this might not be for you.

Label: Ripple Music
Band Links: Facebook | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills