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Not to be confused with a short-lived American speed metal band, France's Northwinds traded in doom metal throughout their obscure, three-album career. For starters, although they began taking shape as early as 1987 -- no doubt inspired by the rise of Sweden's all-conquering Candlemass -- the group only got around to issuing its first demos in the mid-‘90s, and then recorded its debut album, Great God Pan (containing epic-length originals and an interesting cover of Black Sabbath's "A National Acrobat"), through the small Black Widow label in 1998. At this time, Northwinds consisted of vocalist/guitarist/bassist Vincent Niclas, keyboardist Marco, drummer/vocalist Sylvain Auvé, and guitarist Sébastian Thurjez, who was replaced by one David Marcos before 2001's sophomore Masters of Magic. Unfortunately, this LP fared no better than its predecessor, commercially speaking, and sent the band into a five-year hibernation, finally snapped by 2006's Chimeres, which saw Niclas and Auvé investing their sound with ever more ambitious progressive rock experiments while surrounded by new members Thomas Batside (guitar), Thomas Boivin (bass), and Emmanuel Peyraud (keyboards). ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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