Sunday 6 November 2022

Smile To The Wind - Illusions

Labels: Dead Tank Records/Trace In Maze/Unlock Yourself Records/Upwind Productions/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 21 Mar 2018


1. Whisper Of The Forests

2. Wormwood Grass

3. Shroud

4. Homecoming

5. Towards The Time

6. Grave Of Kings pt.I

7. Grave Of Kings pt.II

8. Grave Of Kings pt.III

9. Resin

10. Unbearably Cold And Silent

11. Where Do Ships Go To Die?

I'm moving onto the new review schedule today, after finalising it earlier this morning. Being more focused is good. In this review I'm talking about now-defunct Russian screamo band Smile To The Wind and their final release Illusions. It was released both on vinyl and digital formats back in March 2018. I last featured Smile To The Wind here when I wrote about their split with Ojne, which both Unlock Yourself Records and ZBR also helped to release.

Smile To The Wind were always a band that made their point musically without overrunning. Illusions makes that point exactly with short, succinct numbers. Album opener ‘Whisper Of The Forests’ presents their music in a melodic light, with a dramatic build up, as if it was meant to be an intro of sorts. During the closing seconds, they burst into life with fast post-hardcore/screamo that flows into ‘Wormwood Grass’. There’s a slight pause between the songs (which to me is a bit pointless) but it does no harm, as it’s over very quickly anyway, leading to a sing that’s over equally as fast.

‘Shroud’ exhibits the band’s musical abandon and their penchant for emo-violence that’s not quite emo-violence, if you know what I mean?!. The sheer pace of this album might catch you off guard slightly, as you’re flung into ‘Homecoming’ and it’s subtle stop/start passages. Smile To The Wind are more expansive on ‘Towards The Time’, which leans further towards post-metal/rock, albeit briefly.

The second half of the album starts with a trilogy. ‘Grave Of Kings pt.I’ is a technical, harsh screamo song that immediately gives way to ‘Grave Of Kings pt.II’. As with ‘pt’I’ it’s over before you can truly settle into it’s dissonant tones. ‘Grave Of Kings pt.III’ rounds out the trilogy with a retreat into a musical dynamic that’s somewhat calmer. It breaks things up but also shows how instrumentally majestic Smile To The Wind are.

‘Resin’ is a shock to the system afterwards, with it’s fast emo-violence coupled with a heart-on-your-sleeve screamo blueprint that leads instantly into penultimate song ‘Unbearably Cold And Silent’. Who would have thought that a song with a title like that would be so apt for the current climate in which we live. I say that as somebody who lives in the UK, where the government’s energy policy has been flawed for nigh on fifteen plus years and a nation that is facing possible blackouts (though that’s a worst case scenario).

The album’s final song ‘Where Do Ships Go To Die?’ is a poignant one and could quite easily reflect our personal lives in one way or another. It’s the longest song on Illusions and while it can’t be considered grandiose, it’s still rousing right up until it falls silent. Eleven songs lasting less than ten minutes or so have never sounded so good. Dare I say that Smile To The Wind went too soon. There’s still a place for them.

You can still stream and purchase Illusions directly from Smile To The Wind below:-

Smile To The Wind -

You can still get physical copies from the below labels:-

Dead Tank Records -

Zegema Beach Records - CAN/INTL

Dead Tank Records -

Trace In Maze -

Unlock Yourself Records -

Upwind Productions -

Zegema Beach Records -

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