Winger’s Seven: A Testament to Enduring Rock ‘n’ Roll
Staccatofy Feature Review
There is a certain degree of grit, passion, and staying power that has propelled Winger, a band formed in the heyday of glam metal, into an enduring presence in the realm of heavy rock. Celebrating their 35th anniversary, they return with their seventh studio album, appropriately titled Seven. This 12-track opus, set for release on May 5th, is a testament to their unwavering commitment to their craft and their fans.
Produced by frontman Kip Winger in the heart of Music City, Nashville, TN, Seven is distributed by Frontiers Music, promising to bring the band’s unique blend of melodic hooks and intricate musicianship to a global audience. It’s their first new material since 2014’s Better Days Comin, and the anticipation in the metal community is palpable.
What sets Winger apart from many of their contemporaries is the consistency of their lineup. Original members Kip Winger (lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards, piano), Reb Beach (lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals, harmonica, keyboards, piano), Rod Morgenstein (drums, percussion, backing vocals, piano), and Paul Taylor (keyboards, rhythm, and lead guitar, backing vocals, piano) are all still active in the band, a rarity in a genre often characterized by frequent lineup changes. In addition, guitarist John Roth (rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals, bass, keyboards), who joined the band in 1992, rounds out this quintet, offering a synergistic blend of the old and the new.
“Proud Desperado,” the opener, is a tour de force that encapsulates the band’s unique blend of raw energy, intricate musicianship, and melodic sophistication. From the moment it begins, the track immerses the listener in Winger’s signature wall of sound, a potent mix of power and precision that sets the tone for the entire album.
Driven by a relentless guitar riff, the track exudes a heaviness counterbalanced by the drums’ steady, four-on-the-floor pulse. The interplay between these elements creates a rhythmic foundation that’s timeless as it is compelling, a testament to the band’s ability to balance technical complexity with raw, visceral energy.
Just as the listener is drawn in by the catchy verse, the melody takes an unexpected turn, introducing a harmonic twist in the pre-chorus that adds a layer of intrigue to the track. This moment of complexity serves as a fitting prelude to the chorus, a soaring moment that showcases Winger’s skill at crafting memorable hooks.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Winger track without Kip’s remarkable vocal performance. Known for his full, masculine vocal sound, his voice has aged like a fine wine, maintaining its power and presence while gaining a depth and richness that comes from years of experience.
Reb Beach’s guitar solo is a highlight of the track, a dazzling display of ’80s-inspired shred that serves as a reminder that this art form is very much alive and well. His technical playing is clean, and his melodic intuition is on full display, reminding listeners of his place among the 80s rock guitar virtuosos.
“Proud Desperado” is more than just an opening track – it’s a statement of intent, showcasing Winger’s unique blend of power, precision, and melodic sophistication. Moreover, it’s a song that invites the listener in, promising a journey through the band’s sonic landscape that’s as rewarding as it is intriguing.
Seven embodies Winger’s musical ethos, their unwavering commitment to their craft, and their dedication to their fans. It’s a potent reminder of the band’s ability to create music that resonates, inspires, and rocks. As Winger celebrates 35 years in the industry, Seven is a solid testament to their journey, evolution, and enduring impact on the world of rock ‘n’ roll.
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May 5, 2023