What was once thought to be “impossible” or “out of the question” suddenly became a reality. And I say “suddenly” cuz only a handful was aware of what the two remaining members, Thanasis Hatziagapis (guitars) & Kostas Rigopoulos (keys) had in mind. The whole idea about a new Sorrowful Winds album was born in 2009 and since then the two above-mentioned guys sought & found the apt members to re-form or better say “resurrect” the band. The result was the new album “Non-Aligned”, which was released 13 years after “The Age of Dreams”.
The “weird thing” is that the bassist Thanasis Fragopoulos, who formed the band, wasn’t able to continue due to professional obligations but he did contribute to the songwriting part of some tracks like the old days. The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Kostas Rigopoulos at “R” Studio Athens, Greece and mastered by Tony Lindgren (Enslaved, Katatonia, Kreator, Wolf, etc.) at Fascination Street Studios Örebro, Sweden. Thankfully the production is not “retro” as is the “trend” nowadays, but it has a “sharp”, contemporary and full sound overall. Tony has done a great mastering too.
Sorrowful Winds ask if “classic metal can be modern”… I guess anyone can draw their own conclusions when they listen to the album at the very end. All I can say is that after so many years the band is true to the music they love and honor their metal roots. Classic heavy metal & doom metal is embellished with atmospheric and prog metal elements. The new vocalist Mike Iosifidis, who is a tenor, adapts very well to the band’s classic metal sound but he also offers a more dedicated progy feeling on the tracks. I bet that doom metal tracks are the ones which the founder Thanasis has contributed since he is a doom metal maniac. All the performances are great but I think that the album is overwhelmed by Thanasis’ guitar skills. The heavy riffs along with the amazing solos (just listen to the opener “Beggar of Emotions” to get my point of view) showcase that Thanasis is one of the top Greek guitarists but also a rather underrated one.
To conclude, “Non-Aligned” is a gratifying comeback album from a band which has been away for 13 years but now seems willing to cover all the lost ground & time. If Sorrowful Winds happen to play near you, then do not miss the chance to see them – all their live performances are superb – but also do not neglect to get their brand new album “Non-Aligned” at a very low price here. Let’s hope the Metal Gods are bountiful with them this time…