Reviews of United (2011)

“United is the latest EP from Rainwound, the band masterminded by SoT’s very own Brandon Strader, and it contains 4 songs clocking in just over 30 minutes in length. Rainwound deliver a metallic form of progressive rock, complete with crunchy riffs, spacey keyboards, melodic, often times haunting vocals, and tasty guitar solos. The EP kicks off with a quick guitar take on the “Star Spangled Banner”, before launching into the quite melodic “Brothers”, an enjoyable mix of metal guitars and soaring progressive rock. Strader then takes Rainwound into epic prog territory on the 20-minute title track. This one features sizzling guitar solos, 70′s styled keyboard flourishes, and Porcupine Tree influenced vocals. There’s a great instrumental section in the middle where things go from a jazzy lead guitar solo accompanied by acoustic guitar & keys to a wild funk ‘n’ prog workout with some nasty wah-wah rock guitars and stabbing synth lines. “Forever” closes United out in majestic fashion, a somber little prog number with soothing keys, floating vocals, and tasty, distorted guitar solos. The song builds and builds to a more bombastic & heavy conclusion, and features a great synth solo to finish things out amidst some crushing riffs.

Good stuff here from Rainwound, and easy to recommend if you like melodic progressive rock with some heavy riffs tossed in.”

From Sea of Tranquility.

Shrouded Destiny ReviewsReviews of Shrouded Destiny (2007)

“Brandon “Wight” Strader is a busy man, having already released the lengthy pseudo black metal opus Tribulation under the project name Satanic Dirge (now known as In Staid Grace) he returns with Shrouded Destiny under the moniker Rainwound. Such prolific productivity in a relatively short span of time must be creatively draining and thus hamper this, the second of Wight’s solo projects, you ask? Well, fortunately, the answer is not so simple. On the one hand, most of these prog and lite extreme metal syntheses are fairly simplistic in instrumentation, overly lengthy, occasionally repetitive and hampered by a poor sounding drum machine. While on the other, Wight seems to have captured a more tangible and fundamentally enjoyable atmosphere throughout the album that aids in lifting the work above its faults—if only ever so slightly. The instrumental,‘Christmas’ seems particularly adept amongst its peers since it avoids the unnecessary meandering of the more gargantuan tracks and posits its musical themes immediately and builds upon them nicely before concluding.

Vocally, Wight seems to favor the no-frills clean approach similar to genre titans Mikael Akerfeldt or Dan Swano. And, although, much of the time his vocal lines are surprisingly solid it needs to be said that on occasion Mr. Strader shifts to utterly boring replications of the dominant melody already at play instrumentally. Again, this seems to manifest itself most in songs that are, quite simply, far too lengthy such as ‘Oppressing the Past’. In the future, it would be nice to see a more consistent vocal performance out of Wight, since he clearly has the chops required for the genre, but is impeded by occasionally overwrought and generally boring vocal lines. Instead, a more dynamic vocal counterpoint to the dominant instrumentation would not only be far more suited but significantly increase the quality of the work as a whole.

Overall, if anything is made clear on Shrouded Destiny it is that Wight is absolutely bursting with ideas that he is itching to put toward the recorder. However, to succeed where he has failed here in the future more time is required for the musical elements to ferment holistically. That being said, for an amateur solo-project the result is surprisingly enjoyable throughout the many of its contingent parts—especially the much of the keyboard guitar interplay. Fans of prog in general should take notice of Rainwound despite its flaws stemming from musical immaturity since its creator will, in time, have the ability to create the next great prog metal opus.”

From UltimateMetal

“Take a bit of the adventurous, Progressive spirit behind OPETH, the acoustic stylings of NOVEMBERS DOOM, some MIRROTHRONE drum and keyboard work, and add it to something that sounds a lot like SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE in-between their EP and full-length and you should have a decent—not perfect, but decent—frame of reference for Pennsylvania’s RAINWOUND.

RAINWOUND is a one-man project from Brendan Stradner, also known as Wight of the one-man Death Metal band SATANIC DIRGE.  Though SATANIC DIRGE is the one getting label attention, the RAINWOUND website says that SD is the side project.  With RAINWOUND, he has an outlet for his more progressive leanings and softer compositions.  In 2005 he recorded a demo with the same name and the same tracks (though in an ever-so-slightly different order).  “Shrouded Destiny” (2007) is a better-produced affair with some slight tweaks meant to get media and label attention.  Work continues on a new, as-yet unnamed album.

“Shouded Destiny” is where dreamy Light Rock impacts headfirst with blistering blackened Thrash.  It’s a remarkably varied album that would have slotted in well with The End Records before that label was taken over by Post-Rock shenanigans.  The material has a lot of depth and is worth exploring, but it will probably take one a while to get into it.  That leads into the two problems with the album: the vocals and the fact that it’s not engaging, the former of which feeds into the latter.  Stradner is a perfectly competent Death vocalist and he’s on pitch when he sings clean, but his clean voice isn’t very interesting.  The latter problem also plagued SCHOLOMANCE; what RAINWOUND is doing is clearly on the cutting edge and groundbreaking, but it doesn’t inspire a lot of repeat listens.  The really light parts especially sound a lot alike, whether they’re in “Christmas” or “Rainwound.”

Of course, both of these are normal-enough hazards with a young band.  RAINWOUND is almost guaranteed to get better in time, though I don’t know if letting someone take over the clean vocal duties wouldn’t be a bad idea.  At the end of the day, it all makes for a good album but also a flawed one.  Fans of the aforementioned bands should definitely check out at least the sample on the band’s website.”

From The Metal Observer

“Brandon Strader is Rainwound, Rainwound is Brandon Strader . Although he calls Rainwound (odd name) a band, at this point in time it’s basically him playing all the instruments and singing. The music on Shrouded Destiny is death metal mixed with plenty of elements of prog rock, somewhat in the vein of Opeth. Crushing guitar riffs and venemous growls are interjected with lush acoustic guitars, keyboards, and various effects. Though a tad long at just about 80 minutes, the CD contains some epic tracks that have a lot going for them, like “Christmas”, with some majestic keyboard work and emotional guitar solos, “Rainwound”, which mixes black metal and prog quite nicely, the Opeth-influenced “Companionship”, and the lengthy 16 minute “Opressing the Past”. The latter is part symphonic prog, and part technical metal, with complex guitar work, manic electronic drum programming, and varied styles of clean vocals. “Loves Sacrifice” is a rather nice piece, with lots of atmospheric keyboards, piano, and pastoral acoustic guitar work. While there are a lot of good ideas on Shrouded Destiny, and Brandon is obviously a talented musician, the vocals are really not that good, and the production leaves a lot to be desired. My suggestion is to get a real drummer and singer, find a label and producer, and let those natural skills do the rest. If that happens we will be hearing a lot about Rainwound, trust me.”

From Sea Of Tranquility