Love’s Labour’s Lost
There’s no use laundry listing metal legend, Wino’s, accomplishments, which span over three decades. As an already established artist, his new album, Labor of Love, recorded with German musician, Conny Ochs, doesn’t carry a ton of pressure to amaze audiences—and yet, it does. Fans looking for Saint Vitus or Spirit Caravan-esque doom metal will be disappointed, but Wino and Ochs offer earnest lyrics and beautiful composition that is at some times heart wrenching, other times groovy, and always heavy.
Labor of Love isn’t the pair’s first project. Heavy Kingdom, released earlier this year, also boasted a smorgasbord of tracks. But those songs leaned towards highlighting technical guitar playing or lyricism, rather than showcasing both. Wino and Ochs needed a few extra months to hit their stride, which they nail beautifully in the latest album. In a surprising move, the two successfully blend country and metal in “Dirt Floor,” which features plenty of slide guitar under Ochs’s creamy, entrancing voice.
“Peyote Road Part 1” is tougher instrumental and contains enough Drop D to satiate any metalhead, though, admittedly, a weak opening track.
A form that better fits the record’s function would be one that immediately wows listeners with lyrics and instruments alike as in “Nothing.” With the finality of a man at the end of his line, he states, “Sorrow and solitude, these are the precious things / The only words worth remembering / Hey mama, when you leave / Don’t leave a thing behind / I don’t want nothing / I can’t use nothing.” No cries; no whines.