Album Review :
Winter's Halo - Welcome To Vegas, Baby

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Band: Winter’s Halo

Title: Welcome To Vegas, Baby

Label: N/A

Release Date: 2009

Review By: Scott L


  1. Intro (What Happens In Vegas)
  2. Welcome To Vegas, Baby
  3. The Hitch
  4. Covering Up Can Cost You
  5. The Harm In Harmless
  6. So What If This Is Our First Rodeo
  7. The Reason In Madness
  8. All That’s Left To Hold
  9. Take Me Away
  10. I Love What This Song Does To You
  11. Leaving Las Vegas

Rest assured that in spite of the CD’s title, and the fact that the cover is graced by a sword-wielding suicide king, Vegas is more motif and less concept on this album. Not that sin city wouldn’t make a great theme if handled appropriately, because it would. That’s just not the direction that this CD takes.

Winter’s Halo is a 5-piece out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that plays a brand of emotive rock that calls to mind the likes of Armor For Sleep, Last Year Portrait, and Callahan. Maybe even Forever The Sickest Kids in places. While not afraid to throw down every few songs, for the most part things are kept to a pretty steady pace. And while everything is handled with precision, the weakest link was probably the vocals. While typically whiny, as is pretty standard for the genre, there were times that they came through as overly forced. This was particularly obvious on songs like “All That’s Left To Hold”. On the flipside, tracks like “Take Me Away” really let the vocals shine. Layering and some technical tinkering softened the effect on some of the tracks, but as a whole the vocals were hit or miss. Ah, but the guitars… it was the guitars that really stood out to me. These guys just have a knack for it. At times they blend with the flow of a song. At other times they rise up and carry a song altogether. And occasionally they erupt in a blaze of fury.

Lyrically, Winter’s Halo never wades out too deep. There isn’t much to speak of from a spiritual aspect. Things are mostly held to the common themes of life, love, and… well, Las Vegas here and there. But mostly love. Consider the song “covering Up Can Cost You”, the chorus of which would make any Amber Pacific fan stand up and take notice… it says, “she wants to quit her life / and run away to Vegas / ‘cause that’s what dreams are made of / and all the time we spent / it wasn’t good enough to save us / she’d rather be alone and faceless in the dark / wherever you go / wherever you run to / I’ll be there beside you / just take my hand tonight / I’ll be there by your side / and we can make it through / she wants to cut her ties / to run away from all this / she swears that she can hide it / and though she’s breaking down / she’s strong enough to fight it / she wants to see the lights before she hits the ground / this is the time of our lives / where we can make our escape / this is the moment we’ve been dreaming of”.

The standout track on the CD was “The Harm In Harmless” which starts off with a heavy vibe before settling into an edgy groove that culminates in a wicked sweet solo. Did I mention the guitar work on this CD? If I didn’t I should have. I did? Oh, sweet. So yeah, this song was hands down the highlight of the release.

Overall: Winter’s Halo has put out a CD that’s definitely worth your attention. Think emo with an edge and you’re just about there. So if you’re looking for something along those lines, you’re search should include a listen to this one. A little rough in spots, but all-in-all, a worthy addition to your collection.