Kirk Winstein has spent the better part of his professional career at the helm of the famed sludge metal band Crowbar. That band has released eleven albums over the course of its more than 25 year life. After having spent so many years focusing on writing, performing and touring with his band mates in Crowbar, Windstein has broken out on his own for the first time this year with his debut solo album Dream in Motion. The 10-song record is an interesting offering from Windstein, who is known mainly for his gravelly vocal delivery, which is just as present here as ever, but he also takes a slightly lighter tone at times, which when coupled with the album’s overall instrumentation, leads to comparisons to works from the likes of Type O Negative. At others, Crowbar’s sound can be heard just as much here as can other influences. The record’s lyrical themes, coupled with the noted musical arrangements, add more interest to the album. From themes of perseverance (as in the album’s opener, which will be discussed shortly) to the issue of dealing with people who are anything but good for a person in ‘Toxic,’ (which will be discussed a little later) to taking on societal issues, such as in the album’s closer – a cover of Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung’ – the album proves itself an interesting first solo outing for Windstein that is worth at least an occasional listen. That is just as much the case when the record’s other songs not noted here are taken into consideration along with the songs directly addressed in this review.
Kirk Windstein’s debut solo record Dream in Motion is an intriguing presentation from the longtime Crowbar front man that is deserving of at least an occasional listen. That is proven in part through its musical arrangements and its lyrical themes. The record’s opener/title track. ‘Dream in Motion’ is anchored by an arrangement that take some elements of Crowbar’s music and crosses that with a bit of an old school metal influence for a whole that is in itself a unique presentation. It is a work that makes for a good start, musically, to the record. It also serves well in translating the emotion exuded through the song’s lyrical theme. That theme is one of perseverance.
The theme of perseverance is noted right from the song’s outset as Windstein sings in the song’s lead verse, “A song of hope/A burning mind/Unleashing strength from deep inside/The will to fight/To carry on/Within my heart/It’s never ever gone.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “I’ve seen so much through all these years/I’ve seen the light through burning tears/I’ve done my best to turn away/And kill the darkness every single day.” Windstein adds in the song’s third and final verse, “My light will never ever fade/I stand alone/My mind will rise above it all/I’ve learned the pain will slowly die/I’ve touched the sky.” Additionally, he states in the song’s chorus, “This is a dream in motion/It will never end/It’s an eternal hunger/Growing life again.” Once again, this comes across as a determined statement of perseverance. This message gains even more traction when it is considered along with the song’s powerful musical arrangement, which works to really express so much frustration yet positive emotion and thought. The coupling of the elements makes the song in whole a good start for the album, and an equally strong example of what makes the album a notable presentation. It is just one of the album’s most notable songs, too. ‘Toxic,’ which comes later in the album’s run, does just as much as ‘Dream in Motion’ to exhibit what makes the album so unique.
‘Toxic’ takes Windstein in a somewhat new direction again in its musical arrangement. The guitar riff, drums and bass here come together to create a sound that at some points, is comparable to works from some 90s hard rock bands. One could argue that there is a hint of a Pantera influence here, as a matter of fact. At the same time, there is still an element of Crowbar in the song’s arrangement. In bringing those influences together, the song in whole presents itself as a standout addition to the album. It also does well to help translate the frustration of the song’s subject with that person whose influence is not so positive on the subject.
Windstein opens the song, singing from the subject’s standpoint, “You twist up my words/My voice speaks the truth/Slashed into my thoughts/you’re pulling up roots/the seeds that you bury deep into the earth/Grew vines that are rotting/they stole my self worth.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “I listen to you and hear only lies/My ears have been burning with infinite cries/Your presence is toxic, so please go away/uprooting the evil/It’s your turn to pay.” This is relatively straight forward. It paints the picture of someone dealing with an individual who is narcissistic, to say the very least. The song’s chorus adds to that impact even more, with Windstein singing, “Your misery in frozen time/I’m feeling pain that isn’t mine/The hold you had on me is gone/The growing need burns on and on.” Once more, this is someone standing up to another individual whose impact has been anything but positive. It is another song to which so many listeners can relate and connect. Keeping that in mind, it is one more way in which Dream in Motion proves its value. That is especially, again, considering the use of that content with the song’s musical arrangement. It is just one more example of what makes Dream in Motion a positive solo debut for Windstein. The cover of Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung’ is one more way in which the record proves its strength.
‘Aqualung’ stands out because when one thinks of Jethro Tull, one’s mind does not necessarily go to thoughts of Crowbar or even to thoughts of its front man. The fact of the matter however, is that the cover featured here actually is surprisingly entertaining. It stays largely true to its source material. Windstein, in his vocal delivery, even does well taking on Jethro Tull front man Ian Anderson’s own vocal delivery. Considering that the song and album were considered such a stark stylistic departure for Jethro Tull from its own past works, that makes it even more of a fitting finale for Windstein’s record. That is because it is such a stark contrast to everything else featured throughout Dream in Motion. Yet it does so well in itself. Everyone involved in the song’s presentation here did an admirable job of generating that classic rock vibe here while also giving the song a slightly amped up update. When the arrangement is considered along with the song’s lyrical theme, which takes on the societal issue of how we treat those in situations less positive than our own, it makes the song in whole a statement that is just as strong as the album’s opener. That is especially considering that in the song, it is noted that Aqualung, the song’s title character, does actually see some hope despite everything. It echoes the theme in the album’s opener, and reminds us that hope is there. When this is considered along with the other songs noted here — and the rest of the album’s works — the album in whole shows once more why it is a surprisingly entertaining listen. It proves itself a record that for a debut, is a good start for Windstein and is worth at least an occasional listen.
Crowbar front man Kirk Windstein’s debut solo record Dream in Motion is a surprisingly engaging offering. That is due to its musical arrangements and its lyrical themes, which will connect to its listeners from start to end, as evidenced by the analysis presented here. Between the songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the album in whole proves itself worth hearing at least occasionally. More information on Dream in Motion is available along with all of Kirk Windstein’s latest news and more at:
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.