Thursday, June 23, 2016

Witherscape :"the Northern Sanctuary"

I haven't checked in much on Post - Edge of Sanity  Dan Swano in recent year, despite being a fan of  Edge of Sanity.  So I am going into this hoping that kind of vibe is what this band is about.  The first few songs are along the lines of a heavier Symphony X without all the wanking, The vocal trade off is similar yet Swano can go into actual death metal growl." In the Eyes of Idols" packs much more of a punch. At times  this project might remind you of Opeth, but keep in mind Edge of Sanity came before Opeth so Akerfeldt was influenced by Swano. There is more rock injected into "Rapture Ballet" complete  with  Evergrey like vocal melodies that even hold hints of W.A.S.P in the phrasing. There are some power ballad like moments at are contrasted by death metal sections. After the  which first song it doesn't accelerate into anything monstrous, opting to marry almost  Whitesnake like melodies to  crunching build ups.

For me the more ballads scratch the itch that Iced Earth once hit. Most power metal is too happy for me and never packs the punch I want it too. Here these guys are not heavy like death metal despite   Swano pulling out some powerful growled vocals, At times the music swirls behind him more like the Cure. There is more of a prog metal groove to "Divinity". "God of Ruin" returns  to more melodic territory and hard rock vocal passages. The more impassioned vocals that come at the two minute mark are really strong. Under other circumstances many of the parts to this puzzle would come across as being cheesy if used in a different context.

The title track  that closes the album is 13 minutes long. Four minutes in things get pretty heavy as far as this brand of melodic-death metal goes. They also get pretty proggy too. "Blackwater Park"i a good frame of reference for how heavy things get, before they coast of into the trippy waves of 70s prog synths. If you are like me and don't give a fuck about a new Opeth coming out because those guys have become pussies, then you will appreciate the more metal moments captured with this album. I'll give it a strong 8.5. Century Media will be releasing this July 22nd.


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