After the Ghost EP, it was nice to hear Seahaven finally return with a full-length and as I recall the broody, dark tones of vocalist Kyle Soto back then, I wondered how much had this setting changed. Answer: Not much. This isn't a bad thing as fans of the EP should stick nicely to this release. They attenuated little things here and there but what persevered is Soto's unique sound and non-varying tone of disembodiment and dyastopian rule. It's a linear depression he sings about and his voice never fails to emit that tone. There isn't much audible variance in his words but his perception and indifferent mannerisms on the mic is what the band makes their strong point.
This is well exemplified on "It's Over," one of the album's better tracks with an acceptable post-hardcore range. His delivery is not as energetic or lax as depicted sometimes in his "drab" disposition, and I use that with no disrespect. Case being here, "It rained today inside of me / Rains are the dismay that blew me away as I felt the change in weather" shine with an utmost sharp intensity that's intriguing to say the least. He paints the world as dark, misogynistic at times, cruel and heartless. His words aren't one for optimism at times.
"Thank You" emanates a faster, punk feel and Soto's delivery again impresses in its own brand. Their intricate arrangement here speaks implicit volumes as it differs a bit from the usually "downtrodden" tone set on the album as this track offers enterprising qualities that reminded a lot about Ghost. "Black and White" is another spectacle that shows Soto's knack for a lack of audio light and while he transmits these songs of woe and sorrow a lot in his givings, it's a wonder how there's no hindrance to the manner in how the depressive feel and inner apathy is translated from the mic to the listener so easily. I joked that he's the anti-Dr. Phil!
"Come back to me, I won't be disappointed / You're fading now so what am I doing here / I know you say I can't be trusted but I need your faith / I've grown maladjusted" on "Save Me" shows they keep hope at an arms length as they render another sweet sound here. This conveys that sense of sentiment and redemption with earnest. "The End of the World" is the standout on the record and shines beyond the disc's realms as it doesn't emulate what the other tracks did. Sound-wise it's different and has a damn good feel. It's a good slap to the face as portions of the melancholy and morose scheme Soto loves to rant about do sink in, but the final sound regresses on the nonchalance that they sometimes offer. It reeks of one of the best songs of 2011 to me. I like!
Overall, Winter Forever was a decent listen. Seahaven seemed to focus too much on Soto's delivery for me, and while I recall Thursday using Geoff Rickly's lyrics and their sound rather than Geoff's voice, in this case with Seahaven, they have the depth and quality to rely more on something besides Soto's effects. There's a lot of potential still to be touched as I felt they just scratched the surface and next time around, I hope any semblance of a synthetic feel is cut away and hidden as they have a grand sound they represent. While Soto sounds a man apart with a post-hardcore yet indie or country sound to him, the rest of the band needs to focus more on musical rather than lyrical delivery, and that should paint an even better album the next spin around. Winter Forever isn't the most illuminating album but I'm sure they'll build on an already not-to-shabby offering in their arsenal.